Tuesday , 22 September 2020

Strange Ambiguities in the Execution of Navid Afkari, Lawyer Points Out

Iran-HRM – The hasty execution of Navid Afkari was not compatible with any of the principles of the Iranian Judiciary, said Babak Paknia, a certified lawyer in Iran.

The sudden execution of Navid Afkari has shocked his team of lawyers. In an interview on Sunday, September 13, Babak Paknia said he had been caught by surprise upon learning of Navid’s execution.

“Certain conditions have to be met before an execution is carryied out and no such conditions existed at the time,” said Babak Paknia who is the legal counselor of the team of Navid Afkari’s lawyers.

Navid Afkari had three cases. One of them had been decided for which the punishment of ‘retribution’ was handed down.

The second case was a security charge based on ‘moharebeh’ (waging war on God). And the third case was about a clash with security forces.

According to Mr. Paknia the second case was in the process of appeal, but the other two cases were still under review.

Underscoring the fact that Navid Afkari’s case with security charges had not been finalized by the Supreme Court, Paknia asked, “Why so much rush? According to the legal procedures, the judiciary’s is supposed to try its best to obtain the consent (of parents of the victim) even if it is proven that a murder had actually taken place.”

In another interview, Paknia said, “Not only they rushed to carry out the sentence, but even the legal preparations were not observed. Navid Afkari had two other cases still being processed. We were relaxed, busy preparing our defense. We intended to present a stronger defense bill to the supreme court and ask for revision. Unfortunately, this haste deprived Navid and his lawyers from this opportunity.”

“All retribution verdicts are basically carried out when there are no more cases (against the convict),” Mr. Paknia stressed.

According to Babak Paknia: “In the Retribution bylaws, the lawmaker has obliged the judge to inform various officials including the convict’s lawyer at least 48 hours in advance of carrying out the verdict. The convict, himself, must be informed so that he could visit for the last time the persons he desires to see. And the judicial authorities must provide the conditions for this visit. Even if the convict is placed in solitary confinement in the final days, the conditions should be such that the convict understands that his verdict is going to be carried out. Oddly enough in this case, none of these procedures were carried out and observed as much as I have been able to find out from talking to the lawyers of this case.”

The certified lawyer Babak Paknia also raised the following points:

“In addition to ambiguities in the form, there were a lot of ambiguities in the content of this case…

“There were also other issues with regards to the opinion of the Coroner’s Office…

“The victim’s right to have a last visit was not observed. They did not inform his lawyer about implementing the death verdict, either…

“Afkari got in touch with his family at 11.30 p.m. the night before getting executed. His conversation during this call shows that ‘all circumstances were normal up until then.’”

The clerical regime’s Judiciary hastily executed Navid Afkari at dawn on Saturday, September 12, 2020. The authorities of Adelabad Prison of Shiraz did not even let him have a last farewell with his family.

He was buried the same night by a limited number of his family and relatives under tight security measures in Sangar village in Sepidan county of Fars Province. A large number of plainclothes agents were present at the scene.

Navid’s letters and voice messages from prison, stressing that he was tortured to make false confessions, led to a global campaign for the termination of his death sentence. 

In one of the voice messages, he said that the regime wanted an excuse to hang him.

“Despite writing continuously that I was forced to confess under torture and that there was not even one piece of evidence to prove my guilt in this damn case, they didn’t want to hear my voice.”

“I realized they just want a neck to throw their noose around,” Navid Afkari said in the message from prison.

The execution of Navid Afkari provoked outrage across Iran and all around the world, condemning this cruel execution.