Sattar Beheshti

UN human rights rapporteurs have called on the Iranian judiciary to conduct an independent and impartial probe into the death of Sattar Beheshti, the Iranian blogger who died while in the custody of cyber police.

In a statement published on November 15 on the United Nations Human Rights webiste, the UN experts urge Iran to investigate allegation of torture in prisons.

Sattar Beheshti, a 35-year-old blogger, was arrested on October 30 by cyber police and a week later his remains were returned to his family.

His cellmates have testified that they saw evident signs of torture on his body.

Beheshti’s death has triggered widespread outrage in both domestic and international media, forcing Parliament and the judiciary to initiate probes into the case.

Ahmad Shaheed, UN Special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, says: “There should be zero-tolerance for torture. It is imperative that people who are potentially involved in committing such gruesome crimes are investigated and brought to justice, as failure to do so, promotes a culture of impunity.”

Christof Heyns, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, says: “When an individual dies as a consequence of injuries sustained while in State custody, there is a presumption of State responsibility.”

The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, further commented on the situation of human rights in Iran, saying: “Harsh prison sentences handed down to journalists and bloggers, following trials in which defendants’ rights to due process and a fair trial are not guaranteed, exemplify broader conditions of severe restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion.”