Amnesty and HRW urge Iran's regime to free Afkari brothers

A 45-page report details the "harrowing" torture and "ill-treatment" that the Afkari brothers suffered at the hands of the Iranian regime.

Iranian Greco-Roman wrestler Navid Afkari. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Iranian Greco-Roman wrestler Navid Afkari.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
In a late June report, the London-based Amnesty International wrote in its comprehensive 45-page study about the "harrowing details of torture and other ill-treatment inflicted on unjustly jailed protesters Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari since their arbitrary arrest in 2018."
The brothers Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari "are serving lengthy prison terms in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, following convictions in multiple grossly unfair trials, in which courts essentially relied on torture-tainted 'confessions."'
The report said that "Since September 2020, the authorities have subjected them to renewed torture and other ill-treatment in apparent retaliation for speaking out against the enforced disappearance of their brother Navid Afkari, who was executed in secret on 12 September 2020. Since then, Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari have been held in windowless solitary confinement cells, either together in a single cell or separately, and denied access to adequate healthcare, meaningful contact with other prisoners, fresh air, telephone calls and face to face family visits."
Amnesty said that it "renews its calls on the Iranian authorities to release Vahid Afkari humanity related to 1988 prison massacres, Amnesty International renews its calls on member states of the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent mechanism aimed at ensuring accountability."
The organization reported that "On 26 October 2018, while still on hunger strike, Vahid Afkari attempted suicide by injuring his neck with a piece of broken glass. While he was transferred to hospital for a surgical operation, medical records, reviewed by Amnesty International, indicate that two days later, his treatment was interrupted, and he was returned to prison against medical advice."
The clerical regime executed the champion wrestler Navid Afkari for his protest against the regime's political and economic corruption in 2018, according to human rights experts and Western governments. Iran's regime said Navid killed a security guard who was tracking protestors.
Navid's case become a cause célèbre after the US Olympic wrestler Ben Askren, the President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White,  and then-president Trump urged the rulers of the theocratic state not to execute Navid. The former acting director of US National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, called on the International Olympics Committee at the time to intervene.
Human Rights Watch's Director of Global Initiatives, Minky Worden, told the Jerusalem Post that the "The brothers are unjustly held and deserve due process  of law, which  Iran's court system does not allow. The sports world should be equally concerned with Navid Afkari's brothers' survival." 
She added that "Iran should not expect to hold international sporting events when its executing athletes, children and peaceful activists." She said the conduct of the Iranian regime is "at odds with the Olympic Charter."
Amnesty International said the "ongoing travesty of justice suffered by Afkari brothers is reflective of the protracted torture epidemic in Iran, with prisoners, including those detained in connection with the protests of November 2019, being routinely subjected to various methods of torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deliberate deprivation of adequate medical care."