September 26, 2020
The 47 countries present at this week’s United Nations Human Rights Council meeting condemned the sudden execution of the young Iranian wrestler, Navid Afkari, also demanding the release of Nasrin Sotoudeh and Narges Mohammadi and an end to the repeated violations of human rights in Iran.
In a joint statement, read by the German representative to the UN Human Rights Council, the member nations expressed concern over repeated human rights violations in Iran, including “arbitrary detentions, unfair trials,” forced confessions, and acts of torture against detainees arrested in recent protests in Iran.
The signatory states also claimed juveniles’ execution in Iran as another example of human rights violations, citing the case of a young prisoner, Barzan Nasrollahzadeh, who was sentenced to death for “moharebeh,” or armed rebellion against God.
A member of the Sunni minority, Nasrollahzadeh was under eighteen-year-old at the time of his arrest.
The statement also referred to the sudden execution of Afkari, who was allegedly forced under torture to admit to killing a security guard during August 2018’s anti-regime protests.
Iranian judicial officials had sentenced Afkari to two death sentences for participating in protests in Shiraz, and later executed Afkari without informing his family and attorneys.
In audio clips leaked out of Shiraz’s notorious prison, Adelabad, Afkari had insisted that he was severely battered and tortured to confess.
The Human Rights Council members also called for the immediate release of ideological and political prisoners, including international award-winning human rights advocates Nasrin Sotoudeh and Narges Mohammadi.
Iran’s judiciary sentenced Sotoudeh and Mohammadi to twelve and sixteen years jail, respectively.
In recent days, the health of Sotoudeh, who has been on a hunger strike for at least six weeks, has prompted a series of concerns among human rights organizations across the globe.
Human Rights Watch described Sotoudeh’s denial of access to vital health care as “double cruelty” and criticized returning her to prison.
The signatory states called on the Iranian government to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur to ensure the judiciary’s independence and the fairness of the rules of legal procedures, and to give all defendants free access to legal counsel.
On September 23, in a coordinated move, Britain, France, and Germany summoned Iranian ambassadors to London, Paris, and Berlin to protest Iran’s detaining of its own citizens and mistreating political prisoners.
Responding to the three European nations, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, told the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-linked Tasnim news agency, “The politically-motivated behavior and selective moves of the US and certain European governments have always dealt the heaviest blow to the principle of human rights.”