Iran’s parliament to investigate the death of blogger in police custody

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Iran’s parliament will investigate the death of a blogger in police custody, an MP has said, following international condemnation of the incident.

Sattar Beheshti was arrested in his home on 30 October, rights groups reported, after receiving death threats. The 35-year-old who ran an anti-government blog died in custody, possibly as a result of torture, Amnesty International said in a statement last week.

Deputy parliament speaker Mohammad Hassan Abu-Torabi Fard said yesterday a committee would investigate Mr Beheshti’s death.

“The national security and foreign policy committee of parliament has investigated this topic and has formed a committee in this regard,” Mr Abu-Torabi Fard said.

Conservative and outspoken MP Ahmad Tavakoli, who represents Tehran, criticised Iran’s judiciary for failing to address Mr Beheshti’s death.

“I recommend that instead of dealing harshly with bloggers, you go after corrupt officials,” Mr Tavakoli said.

Iran has rejected criticism of its human rights record in the past as political and motivated by Western opposition to the Islamic Republic. But its leadership has taken action on other allegations of mistreatment of prisoners.

In 2009, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the closure of the notorious Kahrizak detention centre.

The media is controlled in Iran and blogging is one of the few sources of criticism.