Iran’s Judiciary spokesperson said today that detained protester Navid Afkari ’s death sentence should be implemented as “retribution” for the family of the security agent that the regime claims the young wrestler killed. Navid has been outspoken about his innocence and has attracted worldwide support from politicians, including US President Donald Trump and famous athletes and wrestlers.
In what seemed to be a reaction to the global condemnation of Navid’s death sentence, Gholamhossein Ismaili today addressed the death sentence during a press conference carried by the state-run YJC News Agency.
“Navid Afkari’s sentence is not execution. It is retribution. Although they both share the same essence, they are different according to the law because he has killed a person,” the Judiciary spokesperson said.
“An innocent person was killed by Afkari and if people are looking for a humanitarian measure, how come no one says the person who was killed is innocent and was murdered outside his home?”
Navid and his detained brothers say they were brutally tortured to say they were involved in the killing. According to Iranian law, the family of a murder victim has the last say on whether a person charged with murder should or should not be executed.
“It is the right of the murder victim’s family to have retribution,” Ismaili stressed.
He also blamed the international outrage over Navid’s death sentence on the “enemy”.
Although Navid and his two brothers have stated more than once that they were tortured to make false confessions, the court ignored the torture evidence put forth by their defense team.
Navid and his brothers Habib and Vahid were recently transferred to a high-security section in Shiraz’s Vakil Abad Prison. In a letter to the Judiciary today, their parents said the three were brutalized and beaten by security forces in solitary confinement.
Hossein Afkari and his wife Behieh Namju asked the Judiciary to send their sons to be examined by a forensics examiner to record the torture signs as evidence.
Navid Afkari was sentenced to two executions, prison, and lashes while two of his brothers were sentenced to overall 81 years of prison and lashes over protests in 2018. Navid, Vahid, and Habib Afkari Sangari were detained for their participation in nationwide protests in August 2018.
The 27-year-old national wrestling champion was sentenced to two death sentences for the so-called murder of a security agent. His 35-year-old brother Vahid was sentenced to 54 years and six months of prison and 74 lashes, for complicity in murder among other charges while the third brother, 29-year-old Habib, was sentenced to 27 years and three months of prison, and 74 lashes.
Navid’s death sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme Court and his request for appeal was rejected.