Sattar Beheshti’s Aggressor Could Still Be Prosecuted
In reaction to the final statement made the Medical Examiner’s Office, lawyer Giti Pourfazel, representing the late Sattar Beheshti’s family, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “My question is, if Sattar died of natural causes, why did the Cyber Police forces forcefully take Sattar’s family to a registry office in order to take their consent [to waive their rights]? This action shows that the Cyber Police thought itself involved in this death and wanted to take the family’s consent before any other action. If he died of natural causes, why are they so flustered? They should simply announce that it was a natural death, like many other natural deaths announced everyday.”
The Beheshti family lawyer continued, “This case is full of contradictions. My question is, how many times can the Medical Examiner’s Office give an opinion about a death? They once announced that it was a heart failure, another time they announced that he died under psychological pressure. But under what conditions was the psychological pressure created and who created it? It is indisputable that the interrogator who wanted to get him to confess under pressure and torture created these conditions.”
Just hours after the opinion of the Head of the Medical Examiner’s Office was published, the Tehran Prosecutor said at a press conference that Sattar Beheshti’s case would soon be sent to court. “The Investigative Judge in this case has completed his investigations and he is receiving the last defense from the suspects in this case. He will soon issue his final opinion about the case, so that, God willing, the case will go to court,” Jafari Dolatabadi said at the June 10 press conference.
Giti Pourfazel told the Campaign that Sattar Beheshti’s family is waiting for the case to be forwarded to court and that the Medical Examiner’s report is not the only evidence that the court will review. “The case will go to court with the Medical Examiner’s opinion, but one of the other important aspects of the court case will be summoning witnesses inside Ward 350 of Evin Prison, the ones who saw this young man the night before his death inside the ward, and had observed signs of torture on his body and his psychological disarray,” she said.
“I am sure that if a noble judge takes responsibility for this case, the person who put pressure on Sattar Beheshti can be prosecuted, because according to our own Constitution, anyone who extracts confessions from another individual under torture and pressure, must be accountable to the law himself,” Pourfazel said.
Sattar Beheshti, 35, a laborer and blogger, was arrested by Iran’s Cyber Police on charges of “acting against national security through activities in social networks and Facebook.” He was brutally tortured during his interrogations and died in the process. He was buried at Robat Karim Cemetery near where he lived. His date of death is officially registered as November 3, 2012.
After news of Sattar Beheshti’s death was published, 41 Evin Prison political prisoners published a letter on Kaleme website and stated that Sattar Beheshti had been held at Evin Prison’s Ward 350 on October 31 and November 1, 2012, and that signs of torture could be seen all over different parts of his body.
In a press release issued November 9, 2012, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran quoted one of Sattar Beheshti’s relatives who had seen his corpse prior to burial saying, “[T]here was a large dent on his head and … they had put plaster over his head. His face was swollen…. As soon as they untied his shroud it became completely bloody, and there were signs of an autopsy on his body, as well.”