A year ago, Navid Afkari, a popular Iranian wrestler, was executed by the Iranian government for participating in a political protest. Now his former cellmate has died as well. Elliott Abrams writes:
As Iranian diplomats attend the United Nations General Assembly and the Biden administration seeks to get back to the nuclear negotiating table with Iran, the Iranian regime has just reminded us again of its fundamental nature.
Afkari’s cellmate Shahin Naseri, who testified that Afkari had been tortured, has now died in prison. Radio Farda, a U.S. government Fasi-language radio station, said it possessed an audio message from Naseri referring to the “medieval torture” of Afkari. Messages like that appear to have been a death sentence for Naseri.
No doubt the regime will say he committed suicide or was killed by a fellow prisoner, but it is difficult to imagine that anyone—inside Iran or outside—will believe that statement. And given the nature of the regime, there cannot be any kind of independent investigation.
So Naseri’s death is a grim reminder, days after the anniversary of Afkari’s execution, of the lawless nature of the Islamic Republic, and of its willingness to use any degree of brutality to retain its grip on power.