Navid Afkari’s case has gone viral in the past few days after his family made it public. The details of his case are published, the contradictory statements by Islamic Republic Judiciary’s news agency, MizanNews, made it clear that the case hinges on forced confessions under brutal torture of Navid and his brothers, especially Vahid. However, the details of this injustice is not the focus of this article. The center of interest in this piece is Khatami’s gang involvement in this case and trying to buy credibility for the mafia in order to get more shares in the government while nearing the 2021 Presidential “election”. Khatami’s group are bitter especially after the least public participation in history of Islamic Republic’s sham elections in Feb 2020.
According to reports, Navid’s first death sentence was issued on October 6, 2019 by Criminal Court of Shiraz because according to the judge, he’s killed Hassan Torkman, an employee of Water & Sewer Company who’s acted as an oppressive force during August 2018 protests. The family and attorneys remain quiet about the sentence. The sentence is confirmed by the Supreme Court! Then comes the next death sentence, issued by Islamic Revolutionary Court of Shiraz on July 29, this time for “Moharebeh”, “participating in protests against regime, insulting the Supreme Leader,….”, the list goes on and on!
On August 18, the first news about Navid’s death and his brothers’ lengthy prison sentences is published by an activist, Shima Babaei on Twitter. However, after a few hours, the tweet is deleted, she explained why:
“Despite my own judgement, under pressure from attorney, family and informed activists, I deleted the news about those 3 brothers who’ve been sentenced to prison and death. They tell me to be quiet. He was sentenced to death in silence. I don’t know what they’re hoping for? Just know if silence was the solution, Mustafa Salehi would have been alive now.”
Islamic Republic has always been afraid of free flow of information, that’s why unless a platform is under its control, everything else must be blocked. Citizen reporters get arrested on a daily basis and if there’s a report not aligned with what officials want, it must get deleted however possible so the mass population don’t see it. Any viral story on social media, such as the case of #اعدام نکنید will increase the price for regime’s brutal actions! In Navid’s case, as soon as the wave of protests started, and the words got out that he is a champion wrestler, international figures in sports started tweeting and spreading the word! Judiciary felt the pressure and sent out false reports on state-controlled media but none of the denials by attorney or activists made it to the public views. For that reason, the role these “informed activists” played in stifling the news becomes even more important!
Shima Babaei also responded to a Twitter user about why the brothers should oppose making their sentences public:
“I was told they didn’t have a problem with publishing the news. It seems like the timing and who publishes the news were the problems.”
Soon it became clear who those “informed activists” were! Mehdi Mahmoudian and Emadeddin Baghi. Two journalists of Khatami’s mafia who have been trying to use Navid Afkari’s name to buy themselves some credit but it looks like it backfired and now he’s in serious danger of losing his life, even though the Judiciary has no evidence whatsoever against him!
Mehdi Mahmoudian tweeted this: “As someone who’s read more than 1000 pages of this case, I announce what MizanNews says is a blatant lie. There is no, I emphasize, no video that shows Navid Afkari or his brothers committed the murder, even a single frame.”
Emadeddin Baghi gives us more clues as to what’s happened in the case! He tweeted there was no need for all this fuss because “we knew about Afkari brothers’ case and were following it up legally” and now that they have decided to make it public, there’s a fear that the “security apparatus” reacts negatively!! And even goes further accusing opposition activists that “they would be happy if somebody is killed or hanged because they would be more fiery with others’ blood and sacrifice.”
He points out the “legal process” referring to Navid’s new attorney, Hassan Younesi, whom apparently has taken on the case to appeal to the Supreme Court! Another name from Khatami’s group, son of Ali Younesi, Khatami’s Minister of Intelligence! Baghi even admits there could be wrongdoings during investigation! But an investigation led by “security” forces who just need someone to blame everything on and incite fear into the rest of people has no credibility! This notion could be generalized to many other cases in the past and present. There is no justice in Islamic Republic Judiciary, as Navid has said in one of his voice messages: “We exhausted all legal options and it became obvious there is nobody to hear our voice. I realized, they’re looking for a neck for their rope.”
But why Khatami’s gang would use these brothers for their own agenda?! Despite popular belief in the west and their media about “political parties” in Islamic Republic, there’s only one party ruling the entire aspects of the country, “Party of God”, “Hezbollah”, “حزب الله”, which has one leader, the “Supreme”, the God’s representative on earth! However, decades after the 1979 revolution, the bankrupted system thought of a new way to pretend being a “republic” and created a new group inside that “party”, calling it “reformists” led by Mohammad Khatami!
Khatami with his famous smile and nice cleric clothing, attracted a lot of attention. But he has always been a loyal disciple to Khamenei and becoming the President of Islamic Republic with the most possible votes in the history of the theocratic regime didn’t change that. However, in his 8 years presidency, 1997-2005, he achieved these milestones which have been parts of the darkest days in 41+ years of the Islamic regime:
- November-December 1998: “Chain Murders of Iran” which led to confession by the MOIS of Khatami that some “agents” killed 4 members of Iran Writers Association who were critical of the regime and its boycotting and censoring writers. Khamenei and Khatami called it all from “out of control agents.” Despite regime admitting to only these 4 heinous crimes, there have been tens other writers and critics of regime disappearing and killed mysteriously in previous administrations.
- July 1999: Students protests in Tehran University dormitory, known as “Kouye Daneshgah” incident. Khatami followed Khamenei in calling students as “thugs” and supported Police Chief, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf actions, which led to killing and missing of many students. Saeed Zeinali’s status is still “disappeared.”
However, during his presidency, many who were forgotten after 1980s Iran-Iraq war resurfaced in Iran’s political scene and got some important positions. Eventually, they gathered some loyal followers and became known as “reformists” in the world, making his tenure a successful mission in keeping the regime in power for another 20 years.
Gradually, the majority of people, especially the youth who have elected Khatami in the first place, saw through the ruse after 2009 elections and the “Green Movement.” They figured how it was all just another way for Khamenei to bring some legitimacy to his regime, even though it may have looked like it was shattering it. For him and the “Party of God”, it’s all about staying in the throne, however way possible. Even if it means to temporarily and in appearances, sacrifice old partners like Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, who supposedly went under “house arrest.” The same Karoubi who suddenly reappeared a few days ago in his friend’s house at a gathering of several other mullahs advising people to cast their votes for 2021 election, saying “Parliamentary elections” is different from “Presidential elections.”
After 2009 election, the groups inside the “one party” started to have difference of opinions on how to maintain their group’s grip on power or expand it to other departments of the government. Khatami’s mafia received the end of the stick, some of their journalists and officials got arrested and spent some time in prison as political prisoners, giving them a new way to entice people: “we understand you, see, we’re victims of their brutality too, but we still want this regime, we should reform it!” Two of those journalists were Mehdi Mahmoudian and Emadeddin Baghi. After their release, they became part of “hardliners’ opposition voice” but of course, in the same “Party of God”, and their followers grew. The back and forth and these manufactured fights at times are what helping the Islamic Republic political scene pretend it has multiple voices.
In the meantime, the daily crises from all groups, no matter which one was in power and/or blaming the other, made people pass the totality of the corrupt regime and in December 2017 protests made it clear, chanting: “Reformist, Fundamentalist, this is the end.” This continued into November 2019 nationwide protests with even broader and more radicalized slogans like: “Death to Dictator, death to Khamenei, Mullahs must get lost, Reza Shah God bless your soul, King of Iran return to Iran,…” Khatami and his gang, once again proved to be loyalists to the power and nothing else. They remained silent and at times Khatami called protesters as “rioter” and “thugs” again! It made it even clearer what “reformists” are where do they stand!
Hopefully, this message gets through to the western powers, especially EU members, that there’s no difference between Zarif and Jalili, Rouhani or Ahmadinejad. They represent the same ideology and school of thought, just say it differently.