Iran says it will investigate jailed blogger's death

Story highlights

  • Sattar Beheshti died while in detention, reportedly after being tortured
  • Iranian judicial group said it wants to have quick, decisive investigation
  • France, Great Britain and U.S. condemned death
  • Human rights group says Iranians have failed to look into previous prison fatalities

In a rare move, Iranian officials said they will investigate the jailhouse death of a blogger, after the death drew condemnation from around the world.

Iran's Headquarters for Human Rights told the country's semi-official Mehr News Agency the judicial group will investigate the death of Sattar Beheshti. France, Great Britain and the United States have publicly denounced Beheshti's arrest, treatment and subsequent death.

"Beheshti had been arrested for a crime no greater than expressing his political opinion online," U.S. state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday. "We join the international community in demanding the Iranian government investigate this murder, hold accountable those responsible for Beheshti's arrest, torture, and killing, and immediately cease all reported harassment of Beheshti's family."

Iranian officials said they wanted to conduct a quick and decisive probe as proof of the government's "determination to confront any breaking of the law and an (as) example of respect for the rights of the citizens."

Prior deaths of Iranian prisoners have not been investigated properly, Amnesty International said in a statement last week.

The human rights group said Beheshti, 35, was arrested October 30 by men thought to be from Iran's "cyber police." His family was told to pick up his body on November 6, Amnesty International said.

When he heard reports of Beheshti's death, British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said: "If these reports are true, this is yet another disgraceful attempt by the Iranian government to crush any form of free expression by its citizens."

Iran said the results of the investigation will be made public, but gave no timetable for the probe.

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