The head of Iran’s judiciary has criticized Ahmadinejad supporters in the media, saying they have tried to create a scandal around the case of Sattar Beheshti, the detained blogger who died while in custody.
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, has been on the spot after a jailed blogger died five days after his arrest, which has once again reignited allegations of severe torture by judiciary officials.
Ayatollah Larijani dismissed accusations against the judiciary saying if any wrongdoings have taken place, they will be dealth with, and there is no reason to target the whole judiciary as Ahmadinejad supporters in the media are trying to do.
The Khorsheed daily published an interview with administration officials saying that the death of Sattar Beheshti is another example of why President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been insisting on visiting the country’s prisons in the past month.
The official described the death of Beheshti as “sad and shameful”, adding: “About a month ago, the president issued a letter describing his intention to visit Evin Prison but he was accused of political duplicity… But today we see the wisdom of his decision to inspect the prisons.”
Ever since Ahmadinejad’s senior press aide was jailed in September to serve out a six-month term for publishing “indecent” material, Ahmadinejad has made requests to the judiciary to arrange for him a general visit to Evin Prison.
The judiciary, however, has declined the request, saying it is not appropriate at this time since the president has never made such a request in all his years in office, and to allow a visit when his press aide is serving a sentence would be inappropriate.
The issue of the visit turned into a public dispute between the head of the judiciary and the president, until the Supreme Leader finally had to call on both sides to tone down their attacks, adding that the creation of such divisions was akin to treason.
Sattar Beheshti, a 35-year-old blogger, was arrested by cyber police on October 30; officials later announced that he had died after four days in police custody. While some prison officials have claimed he died of natural causes, his cellmates have issued a letter testifying that he bore signs of serious torture all over his body.
Beheshti’s death got wide coverage in the domestic and international media, prompting Parliament to launch a probe into his death.
So far there have been contradictory reports about the autopsy results. The coroner has announced that he died of heart failure, but there has finally been state confirmation that his body bore signs of torture.
A number of officials have been arrested in connection with the case, and today IRNA reported that the suspects have been released on bail.