The Execution of Afkari

The Iranian Wrestling Champion Represents Many Young Iranians Whose Ambitions are Crushed by a Brutal and Unhuman Regime

Despite the world’s plead to stop the execution of the young Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari, the Authorities in Iran went forward with the execution accusing Afkari of "voluntary manslaughter" for killing a water and sewage department security officer, Hossein Torkman, in August 2018, amid mass anti-government protests that shook more than 100 cities across Iran.
 
State TV quoted the chief justice of Fars province, Kazem Mousavi as saying on Saturday: "The retaliation sentence against Navid Afkari, the killer of Hassan Turkman, was carried out this morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz."
 
In a move to justify its decision that prompted international condemnation, the Iranian authorities aired on the state TV blurred police documents and said Afkari's cellphone had been in the area. It also showed surveillance footage of him walking down a street, talking on his phone.
 
Afkari’s lawyer confirmed that the authorities have no proof of his guilt. Amnesty international confirmed that before Navid Afkari secret execution he was subjected to a shocking catalogue of human rights violations and crimes, including enforced disappearance; torture and other ill-treatment, leading to forced “confessions”; and denial of access to a lawyer and other fair trial guarantees.
 
In a voice recording of Afkari from inside the prison, which was released by the group Amnesty International, Afkari said, “If I am executed, I want you to know that an innocent person, even though he tried and fought with all his strength to be heard, was executed.”
 
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa said Navid Afkari was a young man with a promising future ahead of him. Carrying out his death sentence with such utter disregard for the basic principles of justice further demonstrates the cruelty of the death penalty. A series of judges in different courts used forced ‘confessions’ obtained under torture to convict him, and consistently failed to investigate his complaints of torture.”
 
Hossein Abedini of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Confirmed that In Iran there are currently several dozens of political prisoners on death row. Many of them have been arrested during anti-regime protests. Many, have been charged with concocted charges by the mullahs’ regime like “war on god and corruption on earth and enmity to God and accused for having connection with the main Iranian opposition movement “.
 
The ongoing executions in Iran are the result of the impunity that the regime and its leaders have enjoyed for nearly four decades and our panel of experts can further elaborate on this matter. Inaction is sending a green light to Tehran that they can continue with the crimes against humanity with impunity.
 
Abedini has revealed how the female political prisoners in Qarchak Prison were attacked wiith boiling water, on September 14, 2020. Three women hired by Qarchak Prison warden, Mehdi Mohammadi, attempted to pour hot boiled water on political prisoners Forough Taghipour and Parastoo Mo’ini detained in Ward 6.
 
According to United Against Nuclear Iran, Iranian authorities are incarcerating an estimated 718 political prisoners and ethnic and religious minorities as of February 25, 2020. The Iranian government frequently violates the legal rights of the accused by denying them access to an attorney, or the ability to select an attorney of one's choice (instead of one from a pool of lawyers chosen by the head of the judiciary) or the provision of information to their family about their condition and the charges against them. Those arrested or detained in Iran face appalling treatment—often to coerce confessions—like torture, mock executions, beatings, prolonged solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, denial of medical treatment etc.
 
In a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, eight Nobel laureates condemned the execution of Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari by the mullahs’ regime. They expressed their disgust at his murder and condemned the regime’s use of torture to extract a force confession from Navid. 
 
Navid in his last words wanted the whole world to know “that since he was a child, he only wanted to make his mother happy with international achievements in wrestling”. He represents many young Iranians who are seeing their ambitions crushed by a medieval theocratic brutal and unhuman regime.
 
It is time for the UN and democratic governments to hold the Iranian regime accountable. It needs more than condemnation, it needs action.