UN Experts Condemn Navid Afkari’s Execution by Iran

UN Experts Condemn Navid Afkari’s Execution by Iran

Published by on September 16, 2020

International Liberty Association: Following the execution of Navid Afkari, in Iran, five United Nations’ human rights experts, including Javaid Rehman, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, condemned the execution of this Iranian wrestling champion. He was arrested during the cross country protests in 2018, in Iran.

The UN human rights experts issued a statement on Monday 14 September to condemn Navid Afkari’s execution. You can read the full text of the statement hear.

“It is deeply disturbing that the authorities appear to have used the death penalty against an athlete as a warning to its population in a climate of increasing social unrest. Such flagrant disregard for the right to life through summary executions is not only a matter of domestic concern. We call on the international community to react strongly to these actions by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” read the statement.

While referring to Iran recent execution of Mostafa Salehi, father of two, who was also arrested in 2018, the experts pointed out: “The execution of Afkari, the second execution in connection to protests in the last two months, together with the alarming frequency of death penalty sentences handed to protesters raises concerns about the authorities’ future response to protests and to any expression of opposition or dissenting opinion.”

ILA: It should be mentioned that Navid Afkari was arrested after the 2018 nationwide Iran protests, in Shiraz. He was immediately subjected to vicious tortures by the security forces to make a false confession of killing one of the Iran security forces. Following his forced confession, the Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz convicted Afkari for “Moharebeh,” or waging war on God, and sentenced him to death a second time. On 25 April 2020, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence.

In this regard, in a letter sent from prison, Navid detailed the horrific tortures he went through. “For around 50 days I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures. They would beat me with sticks and batons, hitting my arms, legs, abdomen and back. They would place a plastic bag on my head and torture me until I suffocated to the very brink of death. They also poured alcohol into my nose,” read the letter.

Regarding Navid’s unfair trial and false accusations against him, the experts said: “If Afkari was guilty of murder, why was the trial conducted behind closed doors and through the use of forced confessions extracted under torture? The execution of Navid Afkari was summary and arbitrary, imposed following a process that did not meet even the most basic substantive or procedural fair trial standards, behind a smokescreen of a murder charge.

We are appalled at these serious allegations of torture which have not been investigated, the broadcasting of his forced confession by state television, and the use of closed and secret trials.”

“The course of events in Navid Afkari’s case raises serious doubts about the veracity of the basis for the murder charge against him. The hastened secret execution, forced confession under torture as the sole evidence, closed trial and the lack of respect for the domestic requirements for reconciliation and the denial of a last family visit suggest that there was an attempt by the authorities to expedite his execution,” the experts added.

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