The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova today called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti on 6 November.
“I am deeply concerned about the death in prison of Sattar Beheshti,” the Director-General said. “I urge the authorities to investigate Mr Beheshti’s case and the exact circumstances of his death.
“It is essential to respect the right of citizen and professional journalists to speak and write without fearing for their lives. Freedom of expression is a basic human right and essential component of democracy, good governance and rule of law.”
Sattar Beheshti, 35, wrote about politics and human rights on his blog, Magalh 91. He was arrested in late October The blogger’s body was retrieved by his family for burial and is said to have shown signs of violence.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”