Inmates of the Evin Prison, northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran, have testified to seeing blogger Sattar Beheshti being brutally tortured to death by prison authorities.
Iranian opposition website Kaleme published what it said was a leaked testimony signed by 41 political prisoners. They said Beheshti was was severely beaten, hanged from the ceiling by his wrists, and also was repeatedly threatened to be killed.
A source in the Iranian judiciary said investigations were underway to determine the causes of Beheshti’s death.
“Head of Iranian judiciary Sadeq Larijani ordered an investigation into the matter and the results will be announced Monday in a press conference held by Iran’s Attorney General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei,” the source told AlArabiya.net.
The 35-year old blogger was arrested on Oct. 30 for alleged involvement in “activities that undermine Iran’s national security on social networking websites.”
Beheshti’s arrest followed an open letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei which he posted on his blog. The letter criticized the Iranian regime’s clampdown on freedoms.
Eight days after his arrest, Beheshti’s family was contacted and asked to buy grave space for him without offering any explanation as to how he died.
France, Britain, and other Western countries issued statements calling upon the Iranian authorities to reveal the circumstance in which Beheshti died.
Beheshti’s family initially gave interviews to media outlets on the circumstances of his arrest, but the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said on Thursday it had not been able to contact them in recent days and believed the family had been ordered by authorities to keep silent.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Friday Iran must immediately explain Beheshti’s sudden death, and that the government must “halt its intense harassment of the victim's family.”