Exactly a week after his arrest by Iran’s cyber police, labour activist Sattar Beheshti has died as a result of torture at the hands of his captors, according to opposition reports.
Kaleme, a site close to Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, said on Tuesday that Beheshti had died under torture.
The Beheshti family were reportedly contacted by the authorities on Tuesday morning and told that they were to refer to Evin Prison to receive the 35 year-old’s body.
The website said it could not confirm Beheshti’s death because prison authorities had not yet handed over his body to the family.
“According to eyewitnesses who had spoken to family members held at Evin Prison, Beheshti had been severely beaten and tortured while under interrogation. Bruises and torture marks were noticeable on the political prisoner’s body, face and head,” Kaleme added.
Beheshti’s sister told Kaleme that her husband was contacted by the authorities and told to “prepare” Beheshti’s mother for the news.
“They told him to buy a grave, and to collect the body tomorrow [7 November]. That’s it! We know nothing else. We don’t know why they killed him, or what exactly happened [to him]. We don’t know what happened. My brother was well when he left the house. He left on his own two feet. Everyone saw that he was healthy. My brother didn’t even take headache pills.”
“They told [us] not to give interviews to anyone,” she went on to add.
“They said he had heart problems!”
Sattar Beheshti was arrested by Iran’s cyber police on national security charges on 30 October. After raiding his home and violently arresting the young activist, the security forces confiscated his personal belongings, including his computer and handwritten notes.
Beheshti was a worker in the city of Robat Karim, 25 kilometers southwest of the nation’s capital Tehran. He was his family’s only breadwinner and was reportedly active on the social networking site Facebook.
Launched in January 2011, Iran’s cyber police has been an important element in the state’s relentless crackdown on online activism.
Conservative website Baztab reported on Beheshti’s death on 7 November, saying that the blogger had died while under interrogation. The site called on the authorities to launch a probe into his death and to “restore” trust in the country’s judicial system.
Kaleme is now reporting that Beheshti’s body was taken to the forensics facility at Kahrizak detention centre. The centre became a scandal for the Iranian regime when grim reports surfaced about the mysterious deaths of prisoners arrested in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election. Journalist Mehdi Mahmoudian was one of the individuals responsible for disseminating information about the scandals. He was detained in September 2009 and later sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of “assembly and collusion against the regime.”