Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam

The head of Iran’s Security Forces says police may be guilty of “some level of neglect” in the arrest of Sattar Beheshti but he denied there was any motive to murder the detained blogger, who died in custody earlier this month.

The Mehr News Agency reported that Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, the head of Iran’s Security Forces, said on Tuesday: “The most important scenario for the death of Sattar Beheshti could be mental shock during his detention in Evin Prison.”

Beheshti was arrested by the Cyber Police on October 30 and died five says later while still in police custody. His family has accused his interrogators of bringing on his death with torture.

The Chief of Police said: “In the Evin Prison infirmary, Beheshti was given tranquilizers, and when he was handed over to the Cyber Police, since he did not have a prescription for the drugs, the officers prevented him from using them, and this might be considered as a kind of negligence. However, there were no signs of beating on the body of this individual.”

Despite Ahmadi Moghaddam’s denial that the body of the deceased bore signs of torture, earlier statements by the Tehran Prosecutor as well as the Prosecutor General, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, have already confirmed that the coroner saw bruises on at least five areas of Beheshti’s body.

Ahmadi Moghaddam also said: “Another shortcoming in the police actions was keeping him in the office, because if he had been held in the detention area, cameras would have been on and all the events would have been recorded…. However, the police did not behave in any way to perpetuate his death, even though the place they were holding him might not have been standard.”

Ahmadi Moghaddam responded to the recent call for the resignation of the Cyber Police chief by MP Mehdi Davatgari, saying: “The head of the Cyber Police was not informed of this case. If the MP’s statement refers to the head of the Tehran Cyber Police, we will investigate the matter ourselves, and if there are any shortcomings, we will deal with it. Now that nothing has been proven, who can we take proceedings against?”

Mehdi Davatgari, a member of the parliamentary committee investigating the death of Sattar Beheshti, said on Monday that the Cyber Police definitively committed violations in their handling of Beheshti, and the head of this force should step down or be dismissed because of it.

Ahmadi Moghaddam also said the officers that arrested and interrogated Sattar Behehsti are now under investigation by the judiciary.