To the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission:

Dear Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles,

I am writing to you on the behalf of the International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights (IOPHR).  IOPHR is an active independent non-for-profit organisation, and think tank based in the United Kingdom, with members spanning across European Union and North America. IOPHR is non-political and non-religious organisation, with the primary aim of protecting human rights, and democratic values within societies. You can find more information about our organisation on our website:

The aim of this letter is, to once again highlight the astonishing inhuman actions of the Iranian regime against its own citizens, and ask for your assistance in this matter. As once again we find ourselves in the shocking situation of confirmation of death sentence of an innocent Iranian citizen by the Iranian regime, namely the case of Mr. Navid Afkari, the Iranian wrestling champion, whose death sentence was recently confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court.

Mr. Afkari was arrested two years ago by the Iranian security forces on charges of participating in a popular demonstration of August 2018, along with the large section of Iranian society, who were protesting the unjust policies of the Iranian regime. Mr Afkari, was subsequently subjected to the most severe physical, and psychological torture, in order to break his resistance. Moreover, the inhuman Iranian regime also arrested the two other brothers of Mr Afkari: Vahid and Habib Afkari, and also subjected them to the most severe physical, and mental torture in order to obtain a confession against their athlete brother.

The Iranian security forces then fabricated a case against the three brothers, through crafting a scenario in which they accused them of killing a Basiji (a member of Iranian Paramilitary force). However, they were never able to provide any evidence, witness, motive nor reason for their accusation.

Eventually, the Iranian security agents also arrested Afkari’s father, and other family members. As a result of these pressures, and after the agents threatened to detain their mother and sister, Mr. Vahid Afkari, one of the three arrested brothers, in order not to be forced to bear witness against his younger brother, even attempted twice to commit suicide in prison.

However, during a show trial which took place without the presence of a lawyer, and without providing any evidence, Mr Navid Afkari was indicted with the charge of “Moharebeh” (Enmity Against God), as well as the murder of a security officer, which was never proven. All without providing any court evidence, and purely based on citing of “the defendant’s explicit confession.” Which according to Mr Navid Afkari, was obtained through severe physical and mental torture. Mr Navid Afkari was subsequently sentenced to two death sentences, 6 years and 6 months in prison and 74 lashes. Furthermore, the 35-year-old Vahid Afkari, was sentenced to 54 years and 6 months in prison and 74 lashes, and finally the third brother, Habib Afkari, was sentenced to 27 years and 3 months in prison and 74 lashes.

The life story of the Afkari family during the past two years is a clear example of the complete disregard of the ruling regime in Iran in regards to the most basic principles of human life. Within a voice message released from the prison, the Afkaris have disclosed some details about the inhuman procedures used by the Iranian security forces to obtain their fabricated confessions.

The detention of all members of a family in Iran, purely for participating in peaceful demonstrations, which is even allowed under the current Iranian constitution, and forcing them to confess against each other, and then using these confessions as basis for issuing death sentence should not be ignored, and allowed to stand by the leaders of any free and democratic countries.

In this regard, IOPHR, would like to ask you to use all available tools and facilities, including your influence on the Iranian authorities, to prevent the implementation of this inhumane sentence. In the hope that through your interventions, you can save the life of this prominent 27 year-old Iranian athlete.

Yours sincerely,

Afshin Shajedi,
Legal Representative of International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights in EU

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