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Costs of Facebook and weblog activities in Islamic Republic of Iran

Arash Sametipour: 
The tragic and shocking death of Iranian blogger and Facebook activist,Sattar Beheshty has been at the center of attention to Iran`s most recent violation of human rights in the recent weeks.
Mr Beheshty was a 35 year old who through his weblog and Facebook criticised the government. Living in suborbs of Tehran; he was arrested by Iranian Cyber Police and it was revealed by sources in his family that he died in custody. 
Iranian Cyber Police
FATA is the abbriviation of Iranian Cyber Police which is said to be responsible over the death of Mr Beheshty. The newly formed branch of Iran`s police is considered responsible for fighting internet frauds and individual right`s violations as well as dealing with unwanted and anti-regime activities in Iran. Despite its original goals and designated targets, it seems that Fata is engaged and busy in monitoring and observing activities in Facebook and other social networks in order to identify and arrest those who are considered to be problem makers. Iranian law is vague about such activities and ''Violation of National Security'' can easily apply to anyone who writes and posts unwanted stuff over the internet. 
How did he die?
It is still unclear that how and exactly where Mr Beheshty has lost his life. Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, the head of Iran`s judiciary claimed that incident has happened while Mr Beheshty was not turned over to the judiciary and still was held by the Police. It is also said that a few people including 3 interrogators are arrested and released on bail to investigate his death. A dissident Iranian website, Kalameh which is close to jailed Presidential election kandidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, published a letter that is said to be written by Sattar in prison, complaining that he was mistreated and tortured. In another development, 41 prisoners in Evin Prison wrote a letter and testified that Mr Beheshty was tortured when he was transferred to the notorious prison.
What more is said
Some of the officials of Islamic Republic of Iran who were involved in the case of later Sattar Beheshty have called for a full investigation and announced that they are ready to help out to clarify the issue. The deputy chief of police said, “We are sorry for his death. I assure people that the case would be carefully investigated and if there is a fault, those who are responsible will be punished.” According to Russian news agency Rianovosty, Iranian parliament has formed a special committee to investigate Beheshty`s death. Also Young Journalists Club published a spokesperson of Iranian judiciary`s confirmation that bruises and blue points were seen on his body.
A vast majority of Iranian dissidents and activists out of Iran believe that there is no will inside the regime to investigate Beheshty`s death and punish those who where responsible. Many believe that this sort of investigations have been pointless in the country and recent history shows that none of those who where responsible face justice. The most recent similar case that dissidents mention is the tragic death of some young opponents of President Ahmadinejad who where arrested, tortured and found dead in a detention center south of Tehran (Kahrizak) in the after math of Iran`s disputed election in 2009. Those people who where initially held responsible never faced any punishment. Some, such as Mr Mortazavi, Tehran`s prosecutor at the time, were even promoted.

Meanwhile Mr. Mojtaba Vahedi, an Iranian dissident politician and journalist believes that the death should not be considered as an incident but a planed plot against Iranian activists by some agents in the regime. “I believe that security and intelligence agents within the regime who enjoy from a vast influence, consider wild and bloody oppression and public fear as the best way to react to uprisings.”


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About me

I hold an MA in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands and a BSc in Persian-English Translations from the University of Payamnour, Tehran, Iran.  My MA thesis concerns the role of Social Media in general and Facebook in particular in education and integration of refugees in the Netherlands.  The title of my thesis is "Ethnographic Study of Facebook Usage among the Persian and Arabic Speaking Refugees and Asylum seekers in Asylum Center in Utrecht"  I have served on the website and social media editorial boards and am a frequent contributor to several journals. Currently, I am holding the position of Editor in Chief at which is a multi-language website focusing on Iranian Tourist attractions.  My research areas include (but not limited to) Social Movements, Fandom, Transmedia, Pedagogy, Social Capital and Ethnic Media.  My most current research focuses on “The Iranian Zoroastrians Representation in New Media”. 

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