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US urges Iran to investigate blogger’s death

Beheshti’s family was asked to collect body from detention centre

Gulf News

Washington: The United States on Friday called on Iran to investigate the death of an Iranian blogger, saying it was “appalled by reports” that he was “tortured and killed” while in prison.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said 35-year-old Sattar Beheshti was “arrested for a crime no greater than expressing his political opinion online.

“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,” she added, in a statement.

According to opposition groups, Beheshti’s family was asked on Wednesday to collect his body from the Kahrizak detention centre in Tehran, where he had been held since being arrested on October 30 after criticizing the government on the Internet.

Washington sent its condolences to his family “as well as to the families of all Iranians who have been falsely accused, illegally detained or wrongly killed at the hands of a brutal and hypocritical regime,” Nuland said.

“Sattar Beheshti is just one of thousands of victims of the Iranian government’s campaign of violent repression and efforts to curtail basic freedoms at all costs,” she added.