Iranian blogger allegedly tortured to death over Facebook remarks
An Iranian blogger was reportedly tortured to death in prison after criticizing the Islamic nation on Facebook.
Fata, Iran’s cyber police, arrested 35-year-old Sattar Beheshti at his home in Robat-Karim and took him into custody last week on charges of “actions on social networks and Facebook.” Beheshti was then jailed at Tehran’s Evin prison, known for housing various political prisoners and intellectuals.
Beheshti’s family did not learn of his whereabouts until Wednesday, when authorities for the Kahrizak detention center—another notorious Tehran prison—phoned and asked them to collect the blogger’s dead body. According to Reporters Without Borders, the family was forced to bury the body quickly and were warned not to speak to anyone in the media.
The Iranian government has yet to disclose any information about the blogger’s death, but various local news outlets, most notably Baztab and Kaleme, are reporting that Beheshti died after being tortured during an interrogation.
“Last Tuesday they raided our house and took my brother with them,” Beheshti’s sister told U.K.-based journalist Masih Alinejad, who posted an audio recording of the conversation on her site. “Today they called my husband and asked him to prepare me and my mother and buy a tomb for his dead body.”
Iran has a long history of cracking down and restricting how its citizens use the Internet. The country has been rumored to be developing its own Intranet— known as Halal— that would essentially sequester Iranians from the outside world. In September, the country temporarily blocked access to Google and Gmail. A week later, access to those services was restored.
Beheshti is the second blogger to be arrested and allegedly tortured to death in Iran. Omidreza Mirsayafi, another notable online dissident, died in 2009 while being detained at the same prison.
Photo via Marjolein Katsma/Flickr