Canada concerned about Iranian blogger reported dead


OTTAWA - Canada is deeply concerned about reports suggesting an Iranian blogger was killed in prison by authorities.

"We call upon Iran to immediately clarify his status and treatment," said Rick Roth, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. "Iran must comply with its domestic and international human rights obligations."

Amnesty International has reported Sattar Beheshti received death threats due to an anti-government blog and claims the 35-year-old man was killed behind bars, likely from torture.

"Fears that Sattar Beheshti died as a result of torture in an Iranian detention facility, after apparently lodging a complaint about torture are very plausible, given Iran's track record when it comes to deaths in custody," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's deputy Middle East and North Africa program director.

The human rights group says Beheshti, 35, was arrested southwest of Tehran by men believed to be from Iran's Cyber Police. It says Beheshti's family members were asked to collect his body from Kahrizak, a detention facility, on Nov. 6.

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar denounced Iran's human rights record on Twitter Saturday morning and called for the release of all "political prisoners" in that country.

Amnesty says Iranian authorities have acknowledged at least three other detainees at Kahrizak died as result of torture or ill-treatment after a government crackdown following 2009 presidential elections.
- with files from Reuters

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