TEHRAN, Iran —Iran’s parliament announced Sunday it would probe reports that a jailed blogger died suspiciously in custody earlier this week, according to the official IRNA news agency.
This was Iran’s first official reaction to the death of Sattar Beheshti, in a rare example of parliament taking up allegations of human rights abuses first raised internationally. The case gained publicity over the weekend when U.S. State Department and a press freedom group called for an inquiry.
It was known that the blogger died in custody, but how he died was not disclosed.
Deputy parliamentary speaker Mohammad Hasan Abutorabifard said that the legislature’s influential committee on national security and foreign policy has been assigned to look into the circumstances of Beheshti’s death.
“The committee has been informed about the incident and its report will be announced to the nation and lawmakers,” IRNA quoted Aboutorabifard as saying.
The announcement came after a speech by lawmaker Ahmad Tavakoli, a prominent conservative critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in the open session of the parliament that was broadcast on state radio, in which he criticized officials for their silence over a case that has received international attention.
“Why do the Foreign Ministry and judiciary not explain this? A death has happened and it should be explained,” Tavakoli said.