Monday, November 12th, 2012
The European Union has joined the U.S. in condemning Iran over the death of blogger and labor activist Sattar Beheshti (35), who is reported to have died while being tortured in Evin Prison.
Beheshti was arrested by Iran’s cyberpolice on October 30, 2012, when they raided his mother’s home in Robat Karim, 25 kilometers outside of Tehran. The police confiscated a number of his personal belongings, including his computer. The police unit, also known as “FATA,” was established in January 2011 to enforce laws aimed at regulating online speech and content considered to violate Iran’s national security or moral legislation.
The spokesperson of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton, issued a statement Sunday noting that “The High Representative is deeply concerned to hear that Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti has recently died in custody.”
“The EU expects the Iranian authorities to conduct a thorough inquiry into the case, in order to establish the exact circumstances of his death,” continued the statement, adding that “The EU remains deeply concerned by the Human Rights situation in Iran, and urges the Iranian authorities to halt the repression of bloggers and internet activists.”
The news coincides with news from the Iranian Mehr News Agency that reports that deputy head of parliament announced that the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Parliament have been charged with the responsibility of the probe into Sattar Beheshti’s death.
Ashton called on the Iranian authorities to ensure that Iranian citizens enjoy full respect and protection of the rights granted to them in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran has subscribed.
On Friday, the U.S. strongly condemned Iran for the death of Beheshti.
“We are appalled by reports that Iranian authorities tortured and killed blogger and activist Sattar Beheshti during a prison interrogation. Besheshti had been arrested for a crime no greater than expressing his political opinion online,” said Victoria Nuland, U.S. Department spokesperson.
Nuland said that the Iranian government must “investigate this murder, hold accountable those responsible for Beheshti’s arrest, torture, and killing, and immediately cease all reported harassment of Beheshti’s family.”