Rushed Execution of Iranian Protester Raises Questions About True Nature of His Death
The hasty execution of Iranian protester and wrestling champion Navid Afkari on Saturday, September 12, 2020, has raised questions about the nature of his death.
The Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) threatened his parents and brothers in Sangar Shir village in Shiraz and forced the family to bury his body at night with limited attendance.
The regime also banned mobile phones at the service to prevent anyone from posting videos or images online, as well as preparing the grave in advance to prevent the location from leaking and people from gathering. In another example of just how much the regime feared the funeral becoming a protest, they sent dozens of MOIS agents and suppressive forces to the service.
However, the regime’s plans were thwarted once again. A video of the funeral, filmed secretly, was posted on social media that same day, while many groups of young people have visited the Sangar cemetery to pay their respects at Afkari’s grave, leaving behind flowers and candles.
Not only were there insane restrictions around the ceremony, but Afkari’s family were prevented from seeing his body before the service and were only allowed to see his face. Eyewitness reports, which now cannot be confirmed, said that Afkari’s neck did not have rope burns, but that his nose was broken.
This gave credibility to reports that Afkari wasn’t executed, but was, in fact, tortured to death, which would explain why his family were not given a final visit, which is part of Iranian law, and why an international campaign condemning the mullahs for sentencing a political prisoner to death failed to even delay the execution.
Afkari was arrested for taking part in protests in Shiraz in 2018 and convicted of killing a regime agent, after “confessing” under brutal torture. He said many times both during and after his trial that he had only confessed to stop the torture.
In September 2019, Afkari wrote in a letter: “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.”
A two-minute audio recording, supposedly of Afkari’s last phone call, was published on social media on Monday. There is no mention of his upcoming execution, which indicates that he did not know he was going to die.
In the phone call, Navid Afkari says it is not clear to which prison they will be transferred. “God willing everything will turn out okay,” he says.
He sends a message to his family that they should not be worried. “Don’t worry at all about my spirit (emotional state).”
Navid Afkari’ s remarks in this conversation shows that he did not have any clues about the implementation of the verdict. The circumstances seemed normal until Friday night, September 11.
Originally published at http://freedomstarblog.wordpress.com on September 16, 2020.