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News | Report: Coroner Asserts Beheshti 'Died from Natural Causes'

20 Nov 2012 00:28Comments

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SattarBeheshtiCloseup.jpg[ update ] Ahmad Shojai, the Islamic Republic of Iran's chief state coroner, announced that his office's preliminary finding was that blogger Sattar Beheshti "died from natural causes" while incarcerated in Evin Prison. Amsterdam-based Radio Zamaneh reports that the announcement was carried by Iran's semiofficial Mehr News Agency on Monday.

According to Shojai's statement, "There are no signs of asphyxiation or poisoning in Sattar Beheshti's remains." The coroner suggested that the online activist, who he claimed was using heart medication, may have succumbed to the "stress" of his arrest on October 30, four days before his death. Beheshti's family members have stated that he was not suffering from any heart or other health problems and was taking no medication at the time of his arrest.

Reports from sources at both Evin Prison and the Kharizak coroner's facility, where his corpse was handed over to relatives, indicate that Beheshti suffered severe beatings and other forms of torture during his brief incarceration. According to Monday's report, "Shojai confirmed that the body of the deceased bore signs of beatings but he insisted that they were not the cause of the victim's death." He said that his office would release its final report on the case on Tuesday.

United Nations officials, including UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed, have called for a full government investigation of the circumstances surrounding Beheshti's death. Iranian judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani and Deputy Majles Speaker Mohammad Hasan Abutorabifard have each declared that such an inquiry will be undertaken.

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

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