Iran Blogger Death: Police Chief Sacked

Iran Blogger Death: Police Chief Sacked

The head of Tehran's cyber police unit has been sacked over the death in custody of a blogger a month ago, police in Iran have said.

The death of Sattar Beheshti, 35, who was critical of Iran's regime, had sparked international condemnation and led to calls for an official investigation.

Iran's English-language Press TV and the semi-official Mehr news agency have named the sacked police chief as Mohammad Hassan Shokrian.

Colonel Shokrian "was removed from his post due to negligence and lax supervision over personnel under his command", the website reported.

It quoted a decree by Iran's police chief, Esmaeel Ahmadi Moghadam.

Mr Beheshti, who was reportedly tortured, was found dead in his cell in a Tehran prison, according to chief prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie.

His death also provoked outrage inside the regime, in a rare case of Iran accepting international criticism over a human rights complaint.

Iran's parliament said last month it had formed a committee to examine the case, and the judiciary said it would deal "quickly and decisively" with those responsible.

The case has lead to seven arrests so far, according to Iranian media.

"The judiciary will investigate the case within the framework of law, and will confront those responsible for the incident," Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of the judiciary's High Council of Human Rights, said in reported remarks.

He called the death "suspicious".

Mehdi Davatgari, a lawmaker overseeing a parliamentary inquiry into Mr Beheshti's death, had earlier called for the removal of Col Shokrian.

Preliminary investigations by the coroner, the prosecutor and the parliamentary committee suggest the blogger's death was caused by mistreatment, either through beating or psychological torture, at the hands of the cyber police.

Iran formed the police unit in early 2011 to combat "cyber crimes," particularly those committed on social networking sites which are popular among the opposition and dissidents.

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