This, in the Times (£), needs more publicity:
The family of an Iranian blogger who was taken into custody last week confirmed yesterday that he had died under torture.
After three days of torment, during which prison officials refused to confirm whether he was alive or dead, relatives of Sattar Beheshti, 35, were given only an hour’s notice yesterday to assemble at his graveside before he was buried.
They were given a glimpse of the blogger’s face beneath his funeral shroud and nothing more.
Mr Beheshti’s fate had been unclear since Tuesday, when his family received an unnerving phone call from Tehran’s Kahrizak prison. Mr Beheshti’s brother-in-law, who took the call, was told: “Buy a grave and come to receive his body tomorrow. Prepare his mother for the news.”
But on Wednesday, when Mr Beheshti’s distraught relatives went to the prison, they were denied access to him and the body was not released. As the story spread online, they received another threatening call from the jail.
“Why did you talk to anyone? Why did you say he is dead? He is on hunger strike, but he will soon wish he is dead,” they were told. But the authorities offered no evidence that Mr Besheshti was still alive. Instead, several relatives had their mobile phones cut off to stop them speaking to the press.
The family had already steeled themselves for the worst. The entrance to the family home was draped with mourning banners and pictures yesterday. Opposition websites picked up the family’s cause with shocking testimony emerging of Mr Beheshti’s torture during his detention. Fellow inmates told the Kalame website that the blogger had been repeatedly beaten. After one interrogation, one prisoner claimed that Mr Beheshti’s body “looked like it had been crushed”.
A manual labourer from a poor district of the capital, Mr Beheshti was not a professional activist.
He had been arrested during the student riots that swept Iran in 1999, but as the main breadwinner in the family, most of his income was spent on medication for his ailing mother, friends said yesterday.
On his blog, My Life for My Iran, Mr Beheshti had railed against the regime’s waste of Iran’s wealth in supporting proxy militias abroad such as Hezbollah, while millions of Iranians were plunged into poverty. Two weeks ago he attacked the surging rate of executions across Iran, accusing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, of presiding over “a slaughterhouse”.
The post concluded with a verse from the Iranian poet, Hafez: “You drink the blood of people and we drink the blood of grapes. You tell me which is worse?”