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Iran Court Passes Double Death Sentence On Protester In Shiraz

Iran -- Navid Afkari, Iranian wrestler has been reportedly sentenced to death for participating in anti-government protests in Shiraz and Kazerun, Iran.

Iranian human rights activists have reported that a court in Shiraz has sentenced a 27-year-old to two death sentences on charges that have not been officially explained.

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) has reported that Navid Afkari who was arrested with his two brothers Vahid and Habib in August 2018 have been charged with forming a group to act against the regime, killing a security agent and actively participating in protests in Kazerun and Shiraz. Based on these charges, he has received to two death sentences, six months of prison and seventy-four lashes.

Navid Afkari is a plasterer and wrestler who has won several medals in domestic tournaments.

In August 2018 when the national currency rial suddenly lost considerable value protesters took to the streets and chanted against the regime and officials in several cities including Shiraz, Rasht, Tehran, Mashhad, Ahwaz and Kermanshah. Many shops closed in the bazaars of some cities including Tehran in protest to the worsening economic situation and inflation.

Protesters were attacked by security forces in several places who used tear gas and pepper spray. Hundreds were arrested during the protests. According to Iranian officials one protester and three police forces were killed during the disturbances. Not only the killing of the security forces but also the killing of a civilian was blamed on the protesters.

Navid Afkari's brothers Vahid and Habib have been sentenced to fifty-four and twenty-seven years in prison respectively as well as seventy-four lashes each.

According to HRANA Navid Afkari's death sentences have been confirmed by the Supreme Court.

HRANA has also published an image of a letter from Afkari in which he says he was subjected to brutal torture – including covering his head with plastic bags and pouring alcohol in his nostrils -- to "confess" to fabricated statements on which the charges against him were then based.

The disclosure of the death sentences passed on Navid Afkari has once again rekindled the social media anti-death penalty campaign.