More than seven months after the execution of wrestling champion Navid Afkari in September 2020, his two brothers Habib and Vahid Afkari have still been held in solitary confinement.
Habib and Vahid Afkari have been kept in the “Ebrat” ward in Adelabad Prison of Shiraz, since September 2020, when their younger brother Navid was executed.
The Ebrat Section is also known as the “closed off” section where inmates are not allowed to communicate with the outside world.
Death row prisoners in the prison are often taken to Ebrat before their sentence is implemented. Navid Afkari also spent his final days in Ebrat ward before his execution on September 12, 2020.
Despite Afkari family’s pleas to transfer the two brothers to the political prisoners’ ward, Habib and Vahid are still kept in Ebrat, banned from communication and medical treatment.
On March 30, Saeed Afkari, another one of the brothers, wrote on Twitter that he had visited Habib and Vahid for the first time for Nowruz. He said that his two brothers are still banned from phone calls and medical treatmetn.
“I visited Habib and Vahid for the first time for Nowruz. They are still kept in solitary, banned from phone calls and medical treatment”.
Saeed Afkari had previously said that the prosecutor of Fars province told the Afkari family that Afkara brothers would be transferred to the general wards of the prison on February 20 and then a decision would be made on their right to access to medical treatment.
Following the announcement of the prosecutor’s office, Afkari family demanded that their children be transferred to a public ward, but no action has been taken and they have not yet receive a response.
Champion wrestler Navid Afkari and his two brothers Vahid and Habib were arrested in September 2018 for their participation in nationwide protests that year. The authorities accused them of stabbing to death a security guard the previous month during protests in the city of Shiraz.
They were charged with murder along with offences such as “waging war against the state” for participating in the demonstrations. Navid Afkari was sentenced to death while Vahid Afkari and another brother, Habib Afkari, were sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison respectively.
Navid Afkari filed a complaint with the Iranian judiciary in September 2019, claiming he had confessed to the killing under torture. “The evidence is there if the court wants to investigate (the acts of torture),” Afkari said in a tape obtained by an Iranian human rights group.
“There is not one shred of evidence in this damned case that shows I’m guilty. But they don’t want to listen to us. I realised they are looking for a neck for their rope.”
On September 12, 2010, the regime abruptly executed Navid.
Neither him nor his family knew he would be executed on that day. His execution shocked the world. He was hanged despite an ongoing international campaign to stop the execution. Navid Afkari was hailed as a national hero and his name can still be seen in anti-regime graffiti across Iran.