Acknowledge Sattar Died In the Hands of His Interrogator, Demands Beheshti Lawyer
“The Investigative Judge does not forward the case to the court, because he is buying time, thinking that the case will lose its significance, or that with the passage of time, its sensitivity may lessen, but he is making the biggest mistake,” said Giti Pourfazel, the lawyer representing the case of Sattar Beheshti.
On June 23, the head of the Medical Examiner’s Organization made a very ambiguous statement to Fars News Agency, saying that according to doctors at the Medical Examiner’s Office, “Sattar Beheshti died as a result of special circumstances and psychological pressure.” The head of the Medical Examiner’s Office stated that this was the doctors’ final opinion.
“Unfortunately, they don’t send the case to court in order for the lawyer and the judge to be able to face each other, so that the issues are made transparent and clear. This is not the first time that the Medical Examiner’s Office makes this statement. From the beginning when I was following up on this case, the Courthouse, they told me ‘He died under pressure and stress.’ I said, ‘Yes, but at what time and in what location was he under pressure?’ He was in the hands of his interrogator and he was under pressure, and . . . yes, he did have a cardiac arrest, but what individuals caused these circumstances?” Pourfazel asked.
Sattar Beheshti was a laborer and a blogger who was arrested on October 30, 2012, by FATA Police on charges of “acting against national security through activities in social networks and writing critical material in his personal blogs.” During his detention, the FATA Police severely tortured Beheshti, and he died in detention. He was buried at Robat Karim Cemetery, close to his residence. According to public records of Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra, Sattar Beheshti’s date of death is recorded as November 3, 2012.
During a previous interview with the Campaign in March, Pourfazel had expressed hope that the case would be sent be to court shortly. She pointed out at that interview that the case had been completed, including documents and evidence, and that it was ready to be sent to court. Three months later, the case still has not been sent to court.
“Sattar had four interrogators, one of whom was the main culprit in Sattar’s death. He came to the investigation session and we saw him. They are not sending him to court, because he is an intelligence force, lest he be convicted. Even though our Constitution expresses that all individuals who have Iranian citizenship are equal before the law, we see that in practice people are not equal. Depending on conditions, rank, and their affiliations, the law may not be carried out for some. This is the truth. I am sorry. I say what I believe; I may end up in Evin myself, or they may allow me to express myself and forge ahead. Why shouldn’t the case of a young man who lost his life under interrogations be sent to court?” said Giti Pourfazel.
Pourfazel added that several prisoners inside Evin’s Ward 350 are ready to testify in court. “I spoke to a couple of Evin Ward 350 prisoners who were hospitalized due to illness. They had seen Sattar inside the ward one day before his death. They said that they saw with their own eyes that he had purple bruises and appeared weakened psychologically. They stated that they were ready to testify in court. Please note, this is why they do not send the case to court, because I would immediately ask the court to summon the witnesses so that they could speak about their observations,” she added.
Giti Pourfazel also wrote a letter to President-elect Hassan Rouhani on June 19, asking him to order investigations in her client’s case. “It has now been eight months since this case was established and the murderer, who is a member of FATA Police, has been identified. The case file continues to gather dust at the investigation stage and is not being forwarded to the court,” Pourfazel wrote.
Last March, Sattar Beheshti’s sister told the Campaign that security forces have put pressure on her and other members of her family to maintain silence and to not pursue Sattar Beheshti’s case. She said in the interview that she has been stopped on the street and threatened.