Analysis: How new media across the political spectrum forced an investigation into Beheshti’s death

// CGCS Media Wire brings you this media analysis from the Iran Media Program with thanks and permission. As investigations continue around the story of imprisoned, tortured and now deceased Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti, public opinion rallies around finding out the truth of the situaion.

[Crossposted with permission and thanks to the Iran Media Program]

Six days after the imprisoned Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti died during prison interrogations, the Iranian Judiciary pledged that those involved in his death should be “dealt with quickly and without any tolerance.” This incident has effectively rallied public opinion both inside and outside of Iran against the government, seen as the responsible party for his death.

Arrested in his house on October 30th by the FATA Police (The Police of the Information Production and Exchange Space, or Cyber police), on the charge of “acting against National Security through activities on social networks and Facebook,” 35 year old Beheshti was transferred to section 350 of Evin Prison on October 31, 2012 and severely tortured. Both of his wrists were badly bruised, which indicated that he had been subjected to jawjeh (a common form of torture by the Intelligence Police of Iran whereby prisoners are handcuffed and hanged from the ceiling).

Kalameh, a news website affiliated with the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and the first to publish the news of Beheshti’s death, published the testimonies of 40 political prisoners in Evin Prison who maintain that Beheshti was tortured and then transferred from section 350 to an unknown location on November 1 and killed later.

Within the first few days of his arrest, Iranian authorities declined to comment on the death of the blogger. Even the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security Mansour Haghighat-Pour declared that the death of a blogger is not a matter that “requires the interference and examination of this committee.” After widespread response from opposition websites demanding an official answer from the Islamic Republic of Iran, international institutions such as Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders reacted against the Iranian government and condemned his death at the same time as the international community. Iranian cyberspace was awash with leaked information and calls for an explanation and investigation were made on websites across the political spectrum in a rare display of unity. Public pressure increased until Parliamentarians Ahmad Tavakoli and Ibrahim Nekou called for an investigation and intensified pressure over the next week in cyberspace and in the international community finally compelled the Iranian government to respond.

Click here to read the rest of this media analysis at the Iran Media Program website

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