Sattar Beheshti

After conservative MP Ali Motahari announced that he has not been satisfied with the Interior Minister’s explanations regarding the death of detained blogger Sattar Beheshti, the minister will now face further questioning in Parliament next Tuesday.

The Mehr News agency reports that Motahari, who is a member of Parliament’s Culture Commission, said on Saturday April 6 that next week he will question Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar about the death of Sattar Beheshti.

Motahari said: “We expected that they would apologize to the family of Sattar Beheshti and gain their confidence, but this has not happened.”

He added that it was very probable that “an officer had made a mistake” in dealing with the situation of Beheshti’s arrest; he opined that “if sincere apologies were extended to the family, the situation would be much better.”

He added: “I believe such an apology, rather than weakening the Security Forces, would be a source of strength for them.”

Giti Pourfazl, an attorney for Beheshti’s family, has said that the parliamentary probe into his death will have no bearing on the family’s lawsuit against the cyber police, adding that the Beheshti family is determined to see its day in court.

Sattar Beheshti was arrested last October for running a blog that carried critical statements about the government. He died in custody four days later. Allegations of severe torture and abuse have been made by several sources, which triggered the lawsuit.

Also, the head of the Tehran cyber police was dismissed after the incident for his lack of adequate supervision over his officers.

The authorities investigated Beheshti’s death, and the coroner has confirmed the presence of torture marks on his body, but so far the government has held to the position that he died from “blows or mental pressure” or “fear of prison conditions.”