35 year old blogger, Sattar Beheshti was arrested on October 30, 2012 at his home in Robat Karim. On November 6, 2012 his family was informed by authorities of his death while in custody, without giving further explanation or the cause of death.
Gohar Eshghi, Sattar Beheshti’s mother, in an interview with Deutsche Welle spoke about how under threats the security agents obtained her consent.
Following is the text of the interview with Gohar Eshghi by Deutsche Welle:
In recent days there has been news reports that your family was pressured to give consent and release from responsibility people responsible for Sattar Beheshti’s death. What was the story, and how did you give them your consent?
Three days after his 7th day of passing (traditionally there is memorial services on the 7th day after passing), they took me to see his murderers. Then, when there, they showed me a warrant for arrest of my daughter and threatened me. I had to sign (the consent form), I didn’t want to lose another child.
You mean to say you saw the murderers of your son?
Yes, the three people that came to our house (during arrest of Sattar), I saw them. I recognized them.
Are you saying that right there and then they told you if you didn’t give them your signature they would arrest your other children?
Only my daughter, they had a warrant for my daughter’s arrest. They told me to either sign the consent (form) or they would arrest her. I was forced to do it. I didn’t want to have to mourn again. I didn’t want them to arrest my daughter and take her with them. I was under their threat when I signed. They repeatedly threatened me, and I was forced to sign.
Exactly when, and who were the authorities that threatened to arrest your daughter, if you didn’t give your consent?
They were security forces. It was from the security forces. They said, “If you don’t sign, we have your daughter’s arrest warrant.” They threatened me and I had to sign (the consent form).
Is the family still under pressure about releasing information regarding Sattar Beheshti’s death and giving press interviews?
Yes, they contacted my son-in-law and told him not to give press interviews. They even came here and told us not to talk with anyone and not to give interviews.
What about the burial services? You had disclosed that the agents did not let the family perform the washing of the body (the ritual cleansing bath before burial), and you had said that his burial shroud was bloodied. What was their excuse for not letting the family perform the burial services?
The security forces told us, “For your own protection, do not participate in the burial services.”
It has been announced that lawyer Mrs. Gitti Pourfazel has accepted the case of Sattar Beheshti’s death. How and why did she accept to take this case?
One month before Sattar was arrested, he gave me Mrs. Pourfazel’s phone number and said that if he was arrested, I could contact this attorney for her to arrange our visits in prison.
Mrs. Eshghi, tell us about your son, Sattar Beheshti’s activism and his writings on his blog.
Sattar Beheshti was independent and not affiliated with any groups. He wrote for Iran, for the labor force in Iran, and for the people of Iran. He was not affiliated with any group. He only wrote about the hardships of the labor force in Iran, and for Iran.
He was Iranian and a patriot. He only wrote about Iranian labor force and about Iran. My son was not affiliated with any group. I will stand up to anyone who wants to exploit my son’s name.
There are conflicts in the accounts and explanations of cause of death given by the coroner’s office and the police. The Police Commander said “Beatings and aberrations resulting from beatings and poisoning was not the cause of death”, and the main cause of death was “psychological shock”. While the coroner gave a different account. The coroner said the cause of death was due to trauma from blows received. Have you heard these comments?
I do not accept these explanations. Did the roof or the wall crash on my son to cause his death? Or did the lice in prison torture my son to cause his death? The cyber police agents tortured and killed my child, my Sattar.
If there is anything else you would like to say about your son’s death please tell us.
My dear son, you all are my sons. I beg of you to echo my voice to the Red Cross, the United Nations and human rights organizations. Ask them to peruse my son’s case and not to let his death be in vain. Don’t let his name be forgotten, and seek justice for his spilled blood.
I live with his pictures in a 40 square meter house. His pictures adorn all the walls. I wish there was a cameraman to film this. I will never forget my son.
Sattar was Iranian and he died an Iranian. He was not affiliated with any groups. He was independent and only cared about Iran. If anyone intends to exploit my son’s name I will not remain silent and will shut them up.
My Sattar did not belong to any group. He was patriotic and loved Iran, and lost his life for Iran. I ask that he always be remembered with high regards. Please tell the media to keep repeating that he did not belong to any group, so everyone knows. So everyone understands that he was not affiliated with any group. He gave his life for Iran, that is all.