Target: Minister of Justice Morteza Bakhtiari
Goal: To thoroughly investigate the death of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti.
Iranian dissident blogger Sattar Beheshti was recently taken into custody by cyber police in Tehran. Iranian cyber police arrested Beheshti at his home and accused him of “actions against national security on social networks and Facebook.” He was later reported dead by the coroner of Tehran. The late blogger was a high school dropout and a construction worker who frequently wrote about the democratic inequalities in his country. On the day before he was abducted, he posted about a threatening call he had received telling him that his mother would soon have to wear a black dress at his funeral if he did not stop speaking ill of Iran.
In an autopsy released by the public prosecutor’s office, they claimed that the cause of death was most likely from shock due to physical injuries sustained while in custody. This is in contrast to the initial report filed by the official coroners in Tehran who claimed that the death was due to a heart attack. The family of Sattar Beheshti was quick to point out that he had no history of heart problems. What the official coroner failed to attribute to the death of Beheshti were the bruises found all over his body – a definite indication that he had been tortured while under the control of security forces.
Even members of the Iranian parliament have called for an investigation into the death of the blogger. One parliament member, Mehdi Davatgari, even called for the resignation of the cyber police chief due to the circumstances of Beheshti’s death. However, some within Iran blame the handling of the cyber police on President Ahmadinejad. Regardless of who was calling the shots, this is just another mark on the human rights record of Iran. Human rights organizations have long accused Iran of jailing dissidents, suppressing free speech and not thoroughly investigating deaths that occur in custody.
Sign this petition and demand that Iranian authorities fully investigate the death of blogger Sattar Beheshti. His death at the hands of security forces is not an isolated incident in the history of Iranian human rights violations. Iran must show that they are serious about allowing basic freedoms in their country if they want to be a part of the international community.
Dear Minister Morteza Bakhtiari,
The mysterious death of Sattar Beheshti needs to further reviewed by your Ministry. While the coroner of Tehran reported that he died from a heart attack, the Prosecutors office has recently revealed that it is more likely he died of shock from the beatings he received at the hands of your security forces. I am calling on you to open a thorough investigation that punishes those responsible for Sattar Beheshti’s death. While changing the head of the cyber police would be a good start towards changing the system of abuse in Iranian prisons, it is far from all that can be done. A thorough investigation by the government could result in changes that can benefit your human rights record.
I urge you to bring justice to the case of Sattar Beheshti so that Iran may show that it is serious about guaranteeing basic rights guaranteed by United Nation resolutions that you are a party to. Open an investigation into the death of this blogger and help the people of Iran follow the international community.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Daniella Zalcman