COMMENT: Iran's 'cyber police' killed jailed blogger

Harvey Oberfeld
By Harvey Oberfeld
November 15th, 2012

We know they have openly promised to destroy Israel; we are aware they finance the worst terrorist groups in the world, that deliberately target civilians; we have been appalled at how they brutally suppress their own people; we were aghast when they murdered a Canadian photo-journalist while detained in custody; and now, Iran’s barbaric “cyber police” have murdered a factory worker whose hobby was blogging about issues that concerned him.

Sattar Beheshti was “detained” Oct. 30 for alleged cybercrimes and imprisoned in Tehran’s Evi prison. The next day he was turned over “for interrogation” …and three days later, he was dead.

A coroner’s report revealed signs of torture: FIVE wounds on Beheshti’s hand, foot, back and thigh.

It has now been confirmed that Baheshti had actually written a letter complaining of brutality at the hands of his interrogators, including “threats, insults and beatings.”

For blogging.

But here’s where it gets really interesting–Iran’s Parliament and the country’s Judicary Chief, Ayotallah Sadeq Larijani, have both ordered a full inquiry. And three interrogators have been arrested.

In a country where oppression of dissent, censorship of all kinds is officially sanctioned, torture of internees has been routine a ray of hope that there may actually be limits to the brutality even the Ayotollahs will tolerate:like beating and torturing someone for blogging!

Of course, time will tell what actually happen. Charges? A trial? Convictions? Meaningful punishment?

But the incident teaches all of us how powerful blogging has become–that governments are paying a lot of attention to what is being said;and how many of them fear the impact of postings and discussions that take place.

We should all acknowledge and salute the bravery and sacrifice of Sattar Beheshti.

And realize the importance of what we all do here in the blogosphere.

Harv Oberfeld is a retired journalist and broadcaster. This column originally appeared in his blog, Keeping It Real. Reprinted with permission.

Categories: Op/EdPolitics

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