Iranian Lawmakers Demand Special Probe of Blogger’s Death

Posted January 6th, 2013 at 10:35 am (UTC-5)
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Iranian lawmakers have called for a special investigation into the death of a dissident blogger detained by the country's cyber police last year.

In a report published Sunday, Iran's parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy said a new investigation is needed because of signs that Sattar Beheshti died of shock and other wounds inflicted by cyber police interrogators.

Cyber police arrested the 35-year old blogger on October 30 for posting articles critical of the government and he was found dead in prison several days later. Opposition activists said Beheshti had complained of being tortured.

The Iranian government already has opened an investigation into the blogger's death, which drew outrage from U.N. experts and Western nations. The parliamentary committee's demand for an expanded investigation reflects growing concern among Iranian lawmakers about perceived rights abuses by government-backed cyber police tasked with suppressing online dissent.

The lawmakers' report accused cyber police in the Beheshti case of acting unlawfully and contrary to Islamic law. They called for monitoring of detention centers with closed circuit video cameras to prevent a repeat of such actions.

The Iranian government fired its cyber police chief weeks after Beheshti's death, citing what it called his failure and lack of supervision of personnel under his command. Three cyber police officers remain in detention in relation to the case.