As previously reported, Richard Silverstein, who blogs about the Middle East, was the first to report that Brigadier General Ali Reza Asgari, who was Deputy Defense Minister in the Khatami administration, was being held in solitary confinement at the Ayalon prison in Israel. According to his family in Iran, General Asgari disappeared on December 11, 2006, in Istanbul, Turkey. Other reports suggest he disappeared in February 2007.
Silverstein reported today that General Asgari was found dead in his cell, citing a source within the inner circle of Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister. In addition, he reports that Ynetnews.com, a website covering Israel, also said that General Asgari was indeed jailed in Israel, but now dead. The story, however, has been pulled down under a gag order. Silverstein had downloaded the page from Ynet before it had been removed. According to Ynet, General Asgari committed suicide.
Haaretz, the relatively liberal newspaper, has also reported on the incident, but in a vague and indirect manner, and provided clues as to what may have happened. The article is in Hebrew, but Silverstein provides a translation of the important passages. Writing about those who die in Israel’s prisons, Haaretz states that such deaths are investigated to see whether a “government agency” may have had a role in the death. It then writes:
Did such an agency have an interest in silencing the detainee? And if so, was the death declared a “suicide” r… >>>