Sattar Beheshti

Sattar Beheshti

Sattar Beheshti, the Iranian blogger who died in prison after being arrested by the Iranian cyber police for his internet activities, has been posthumously awarded the 2015 Pen New England Vasyl Stus Freedom to Write Award.

The Vasyl Stus Freedom to Write Award, which was named in honour of a prominent Ukrainian poet, recognizes writers persecuted for expressing their views in the face of censorship.

The ceremony at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was attended by a group of Iranian artists and activists. A video message from Beheshti’s mother was also part of the ceremony.

Beheshti, a working-class labourer, was arrested in 2012 for his critical views of the government he presented on his blogs. He died a few days after his arrest. His cellmates reported seeing signs of torture evident on his body the last time he was seen in prison.

The government has failed to address the family’s demand for justice and the prosecution of the police officials in charge of Beheshti’s case.