Iran policeman faces jail, lashes for killing blogger

Blogger Sattar Beheshti, who was arrested for criticizing Iran’s regime online, was found dead in his cell

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An Iranian policeman has been sentenced to three years in jail, 74 lashes and two years’ internal exile for the unpremeditated killing of a blogger in 2012, media reported Saturday.

Sattar Beheshti, 35, arrested on October 12 that year for criticizing Iran’s regime on the Internet, was found dead in his cell at Iran’s notorious Kahrizak prison on November 3.

Opposition groups alleged at the time that he had been tortured to death.

The Tehran prosecutor ruled that Beheshti’s death was “probably caused by shock after several blows to sensitive parts of his body, or by extreme psychological pressure,” the media reports said.

The court decided that his killing was “not premeditated,” a ruling which the lawyer for the blogger’s family contested.

“When journalists are jailed for six years, a sentence of three years for murder is surprising,” Giti Pourfazl was reported as saying.

The convicted officer from the police cybercrime unit was not identified.

Premeditated murder is among the crimes punishable by death in Iran, based on its interpretation of sharia law in force since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

After Beheshti’s death, influential MP Aladin Borujerdi took issue with claims by pathologists that he had died of shock and fear, saying he had “very clearly” been beaten in custody.

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