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Afkari's Last Phone Call Circulated on Social Media

Iran -- Navid Afkari

A two-minute audio recording of Navid Afkari's final phone call circulated on social media on Monday, September 14, with the clip providing proof that the young wrestling champion did not know that Iranian authorities were hanging him.

Afkari made his last call to one of his brothers at 11:23 pm on Friday, September 11, reports say.

In the recorded phone call, Afkari said that he and his two other brothers, kept in the basement of Adelabad prison in Shiraz, would be transferred to Tehran on Saturday, September 12. Afkari also said that the forensic doctor examined him and his brothers, took photos, and "wrote down ten to fifteen spots on his body where he was injured [as a result of torture]."

Nevertheless, despite the prison guards' promise to transfer the Afkari brothers to Tehran, the judiciary announced hours later that Navid had been executed early Saturday morning.

Navid's brothers, Vahid and Habib, are sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison, respectively. The two insist that under torture, they were forced to confess against each other.

Earlier, local news outlets had cited the Director-General of forensic medicine in Fars province as saying that the wrestling champion's examination was performed on September 9 and "no signs of physical harm (torture) such as burns, scars, bone fractures, etc. were detected."

In the audio clip, Afkari refers to Khadem al-Husseini, the Adelabad prison guards' commander in Shiraz, as the person who beat him, along with several soldiers.

Afkari also said in the clip that they did not know to which prison they will be transferred, but he sounded optimistic, sending a message to his family that they did not need to worry, claiming "he is relieved" and that the matter will be "fixed."

Taken as a whole, Afkari's statements strongly suggest that he was completely unaware that they would hang him.

Some Persian-language media outlets abroad have also quoted eyewitnesses as saying that they only managed to see his face at Afkari's burial time. In addition to the signs of beatings on Afkari's face, his nose was also "broken," they testified.

A member of the legal team defending Afkari, Babak Paknia, said that he has been in contact with Afkari's family in recent days, also telling the Emtedad website that the audio file shows the situation was "normal" until late on September 11.

Noting that he had studied Afkari's case, Paknia asserted that his client's lawsuit "teemed with ambiguities."

Paknia noted that there were "other issues" in the forensic report, adding, "One of the witnesses had taken back his testimony, and another said that he had never met Afkari before the court hearing."

Moreover, Paknia said that, contrary to the nation's laws, Afkari's family and attorneys were not informed about the time of his execution until it had been completed.