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Iran will investigate blogger's death in custody 'if necessary'

November 9, 2012 | 10:38 am

BEIRUT --  An Iranian parliamentary panel will investigate the death in custody of a young Iranian blogger, Sattar Beheshti, "if necessary,"  according to a lawmaker quoted by an Iranian news agency.

But Mansur Haqiqatpur, vice chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security committee, suggested to the Iranian Labour News Agency that there was no sign yet of irregularities that would trigger an inquiry, according to BBC Monitoring, which translates foreign news reports.

Human rights activists and press freedom groups have called on Tehran to investigate the case of Beheshti, who reportedly died this week following his arrest for criticizing the government on the Internet.

Reporters Without Borders  said the 35-year-old blogger  was arrested at his home Oct. 30 by members of the Islamic Republic’s cyber police on accusations of committing "actions against national security on social networks and Facebook."

A photograph  said to be of Beheshti posted on social media sites shows a man wearing a dark T-shirt with a chain around his neck and a shaved head. In some postings, his image is flanked by candles and white pigeons in a sign of mourning.

Before his death, Beheshti had filed a complaint with prison authorities saying he had been beaten, "lending credence to reports that he died as a result of torture in detention," Amnesty International reported.

According to various accounts, Beheshti’s family found out about his death when authorities told his loved ones to collect his body.

On a Facebook page set up in solidarity with the blogger, a message in Farsi encouraged mourners to extend their condolences Friday evening  at the Beheshti family home outside the Iranian capital.

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--Alexandra Sandels

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