Iranian netizens have launched a major online storm [fa] after the shocking news of a blogger’s death in custody was first posted [fa] by opposition websites. According to interviews with Sattar Beheshti’s family members as well as reports on human rights websites, he was arrested on October 28, 2012 and announced dead some ten days after his arrest.
41 political prisoners bravely published[fa] a statement saying they witnessed signs of torture on Sattar’s body.
Several international organizations including Reporters Without Borders urged the Iranian authorities to clarify the exact circumstances of the blogger’s death and called on the international community not to allow the crime to go unpunished.
Beheshti’s cyber-activism, including his personal blog [fa] apparently led to his brutal arrest, torture and eventual death at the age of 35. His blog motto translated from Farsi reads: “Criticism. Long Live Iranians and Iran. My life for Iran.” His last post appears to have been on October 26. He was arrested two days later.
In his final post he criticized Ali Larijani, head of the Iranian parliament. He said that Larijani and the Islamic Republic are hypocrites to criticize other countries for human rights violations. Beheshti wrote [fa]:
You talk about human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain… Western countries, just like you created heaven on earth in Iran. No you did not. If you had really created this heaven, why would you not ask people to come to Iran and see it?
Iranian netizens reacted to this “crime” that reminds us once more that bloggers can end up sacrificing their lives for their virtual activity.
A page was launched on Facebook [fa] with the title “Those who were responsible for the death of Sattar Beheshti should be on trial”.
Ahmad Sharifi (@sharifi123) tweeted:
وبلاگ نویس مملکت رو گرفتن به جرم وبلاگ نویسی تو زندان اوین کشتن. بعد رییس جمهور مملکت رفته اجلاس جهانی دموکراسی از دموکراسی غرب انتقاد میکنه
They took a blogger in custody and killed him in prison, and then the president goes to the World Summit for Democracy in Indonesia, criticizing Western democracy.
Hasan Ejraei posted on his Google+ profile [fa]:
What’s going on in there that every time someone has to be killed? What do they do to a people in their custody? What did they do to Zahra Bani Yaghoub for her to die? What did they do to Zahra Kazemi for her to die? What do they do to all the others who are in custody? The judiciary should be held responsible for this. Should they not? Ok, They shouldn’t. I apologise.
Three years ago, another blogger, Omid Reza Mir Sayafi died in an Iranian prison under suspicious circumstances.