UN human rights experts have called on Iran to say how
Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti died in police custody.
In a case that sparked international outrage, Beheshti who
wrote a blog critical of the government, was arrested on
October 30 and died some days later after saying he had
received death threats and was being tortured in jail.
"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," said Ahmed Shaheed, special UN rapporteur on human
rights in Iran.
Shaheed and other UN experts welcomed Iran's decision to
investigate the 35-year-old's death and said the findings
should be made public.
"On 6 November, prison authorities contacted family members
of Mr. Beheshti to collect his body. Although the
circumstances around his death remain unclear, allegations
suggest he might have been tortured to death during his
investigation," they said in a joint statement issued in
Christof Heyns, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary
or arbitrary executions said whenever someone dies as a
result of injuries sustained while in custody, "there is a
presumption of state responsibility."
The experts, who report to the UN Human Rights Council said
there had been several cases reported of detainees dying in
custody due to mistreatment or torture, lack of medical
attention or neglect.
They called on Iran to release journalists and bloggers
jailed in violation of a UN treaty on civil and political
Iranian authorities have arrested seven people suspected of
involvement in Beheshti's death, a lawmaker said on
Wednesday. The suspects' identities have not been disclosed.
The Beheshti case has renewed international concerns about
human rights in Iran. In October, the European Parliament
awarded its human rights prize to Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer
who, opposition websites report, is on hunger strike in