Iranian courts sentenced a protester in Shiraz, south-central Iran 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.
According to the Human Rights News Agency, the three were tried in the Shiraz Criminal Court and the Revolutionary Court and charged with organizing a group, killing a security agent, and participating in protests, among other things.
Navid Afkari Sangari, 27, was sentenced to two death sentences, six years and six months of prison, and 74 lashes for the murder of a security agent among other charges. 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. Another protester who was charged in the case, 22-year-old Saied Dashtaki, was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison, and 74 lashes.
Navid’s death sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme Court and his request for appeal was rejected. Other charges in the case of the Afkari brothers and Saied Dashtaki are under investigation by the Revolutionary Court.
Navid (Farshid) Afkari Sangari, is single, and a plasterer. He is also a wrestler and has won several national championship medals. Vahid Afkari Sangari is also single and works as a plasterer. Habib is married and works as a welder.
Faulty court proceedings and tortue of Afkari brothers
A source who asked not to be named for security reasons told the Human Rights News Agency that Navid, a respected wrestler with no criminal record, and his two brothers took part in the 2018 protests, “so the judiciary deemed the participation of all three brothers as the organization of a group”.
“This is while they never carried out any actions that would be a sign of creating a group,” the source said.
The source said that they were charged with playing active roles in the Kazerun and Shiraz protests in August 2018.
“They were also charged with killing a security agent for suspecting him of suppressing the protests.”
The source said the court has a long list of charges against them, but most have weak foundations.
“There were charged with keeping stolen property which is actually referring to a baton they took from a Basij agent. They were charged with providing equipment to commit crimes with which is actually mostly referring to a nail clipper, tester screwdriver, and cloth face masks.”
The source, who has thoroughly reviewed the dossier, said that the security aspects of the case were once heard by the Revolutionary Court, mainly for the death of a security (Basij) agent named Hassan Torkaman which led to the “corruption on earth” sentence and the final death sentence. The same case was also heard by a public court upon the complaint of the security agent’s family where another death sentence was issued.
Other charges such as disturbing public order were heard by yet another court which led to another sentence.
“Navid and Vahid Afkari were brutally tortured by the notorious Shiraz Intelligence Police to make forced confessions,” the source added.
Eyewitness accounts of the torture and beatings have been included in their dossier but were ignored in court.
The judge presiding over the Revolutionary Court, who is also the head of the Shiraz Judiciary, sentenced Navid and Vahid to “Moharebeh” or waging war against God in the final verdict even while they were sentenced to “corruption on earth” during the court proceedings. Their lawyers’ protest over the change in sentencing was also ignored.
According to the case, Navid and Vahid were arrested on September 17, 2018, while Habib was arrested on December 13, 2018. Saeed, the fourth person charged in the case was also arrested in September. Vahid and Navid had court-assigned lawyers while Habib and Saied were deprived of lawyers.
In the second part of the case, heard by the Fars Province Criminal Court on August 7, 2019, 20 other charges were added to the case. These include:
- Intentional harm with a knife
- Initiating intentional murder
- Participation in illegal gatherings
- Encouraging people to fight and kill each other with the intention of disrupting national security
- Assembly and collusion against national security
- Insulting the leader
- Intentional beating with a baton
- Providing equipment to commit a crime
- Disrupting public order
- Theft along with harassment
- Participation in anti-state gatherings
- Assisting an offender for the evasion of trials and conviction
- Spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic
- Participation in the intentional murder of Muslims
- Assembly and collusion to commit a crime against the people
- Moharebeh (waging war against God) and Corruption on Earth by creating a group against the state
- Insulting government agents
- Membership in dissident groups
- Rebellion against officers on duty
- Encouraging popular riots
- These charges are currently being reviewed and are not finalized. The Akari brothers and Saied are in different sections in Shiraz Prison and are not allowed to see each other.
On August 5, the Iranian regime hanged a political prisoner in central Iran. Mostafa Salehi was detained during protests in Isfahan two years ago. The 30-year-old father of two was charged with killing a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps during protests. Mostafa Salehi maintained his innocence until his execution and was tortured to make false confessions. No weapons, ammunition, or other evidence were found. He pleaded not guilty in court.
Three other protesters in Tehran and five protesters in Isfahan have also been sentenced to death.