A few days earlier, on November 4—a day after the blogger’s death—security forces had appeared at Beheshti’s home and asked his mother whether he’d ever suffered from a heart condition, or whether he’d been taking any medications. In hindsight, the family thinks, they might have been looking for a way to connect Beheshti’s death to a prior illness. When the authorities learned that Beheshti had been healthy, they delivered his body to his family, but reportedly threatened them with arrest if they spoke to the media.
Beheshti’s friends say he was most likely detained for his dissident work. The blogger sent news about political prisoners to Iranian-opposition websites, known as “green websites.” The authorities were sensitive “to his relations with contacts outside the country,” says one friend, and aimed “to put him under pressure to reveal those contacts.” The editor in chief of an opposition website confirmed that Beheshti had sent them news pieces as a concerned citizen-journalist over the past year.