08202014Wed

Iran lawmakers find cyber police guilty of blogger death: Mehr

Bloomberg

By Ladane Nasseri

Iran’s parliament said the Tehran branch of the cyber police unit is responsible for the death in detention of a blogger who had criticized the Islamic Republic’s government, the state-run Mehr news agency reported.

The finding was stated in a report by a special commission set up in November to investigate Sattar Beheshti’s death, and was read in a parliamentary session yesterday, Mehr said. Beheshti is accused of spreading propaganda, insulting the values of the Islamic Republic and seeking to act against national security, according to the news agency.

Officials from the cyber police unit arrested the blogger at home on Oct. 30 and transferred him to Evin Prison in the capital the following day.

The Tehran cyber police, acting against judicial orders, moved him on Nov. 1 to another location under its own supervision where he was held without a permit, according to the Mehr report. The location did not meet required standards, including having closed-circuit cameras, and Beheshti was kept there until his death Nov. 3, it said. Iranian officials said last year that Beheshti’s body bore bruises and that he may have died as result of a shock.

The case has drawn attention from human rights organizations abroad, with the U.S. calling for an investigation.

Iranian authorities last month fired the Tehran police chief in charge of the cyber unit for negligence, and arrested seven individuals linked to the case, three of whom remain in custody, Mehr said.

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