Committee of Human Rights Reporters –
According to the Kaleme website, despite the fact that months have passed since political prisoner [and blogger] Sattar Beheshti was killed while in custody [a week after his arrest on October 30], the government probe into his death at the Fata detention center is still ongoing. Instead of the perpetrators of the torture and death being indicted, the chief witness in the investigation has been charged with “propaganda against the regime.”
Abolfazl Abedini appeared as a witness in front of the judge in charge of the case file for the death of prisoner Sattar Beheshti. He asked the judge to not allow a repetition of the Kahrizak prison events by turning the witness into the accused. However only 2 days after his testimony, in an unusual move this political prisoner was suddenly transferred to Ahvaz prison. Abedini announced that he would launch a hunger strike in protest and other prisoners followed suit to show their support. In result after one week, Abedini was returned to Ward 350 of Evin prison.
Forty-one political prisoners in Evin prison issued a letter following Beheshti’s death, emphasizing that they had witnessed the signs of torture and beatings on his body before he was taken from ward 350 for the final round of interrogations.
In their witness letter the prisoners said: [Beheshti] was seen by prisoners in Ward 350. He was hung from the ceiling by security officials and beaten. Then his arms and legs were tied to a chair and he was beaten again. At times they would cuff his hands to a beam and beat him up, and at times his interrogators threw him on the ground and kicked him in the head and neck with their boots. While they beat him, they also tormented him with verbal abuse, profanity and extremely offensive tongue-lashings, and threatened to kill him. When they brought Sattar to Ward 350 the signs of torture were visible on all parts of his body and he was in agonizing pain. His face was bruised, his head was injured, and his wrists were swollen with prominent signs of being hung from the ceiling. Inflammation and intense bruising as a result of blows to his body were also seen around his neck and stomach.
Despite the fact that even the Judiciary spokesman has confirmed the evidence of beatings on Sattar Beheshti’s body, Abolfazl Abedini who testified to witnessing the grave physical state of the deceased is now charged with “propaganda against the regime.”
Abolfazl Abedini, journalist and activist, is among the political prisoners who were arrested in 2009 during the aftermath of the contested presidential elections. He was held in custody for 4 months before being released on bail and was later handed an 11-year prison sentence. The journalist was detained again later in the year, this time by the Revolutionary Guards Corps, charged with “propaganda against the regime,” and handed an additional one-year prison sentence, totaling 12 years and was deprived of taking his university exams.
Abedini has served 3 years behind bars without furlough, and has endured periods of severe torture in solitary confinement during this time resulting in his deteriorating health. Now he faces additional time in prison due to his testimony regarding Sattar Beheshti’s death.