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Dissident Expresses Joy Amid Mourning for President Raisi

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Following Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash, dissident Saeed Afkari, brother of the executed wrestler Navid Afkari, has publicly shared his joy.

In a message on X, Saeed remarked, “I haven’t seen my mother this happy in years.” The sentiment reflects the scars left by Raisi’s tenure as head of the judiciary, a period characterized by repression and injustice, particularly for families like the Afkaris who suffered directly under his rule.

Navid Afkari was executed on September 12, 2020, after enduring a controversial trial marred by inconsistencies and accusations of torture that occurred during Raisi’s tenure.

His execution, amid international condemnation, became a symbol of the regime’s oppressive tactics against dissent and its punitive measures against those who dare to challenge its authority.

The torment endured by Navid’s family continued as Saeed recounted an incident involving another brother, Vahid. He described how, after Navid’s execution, representatives from Raisi’s office coerced Vahid with a life-threatening ultimatum in the shadows of Adelabad Prison in Shiraz, underscoring the impact of Raisi’s policies on countless Iranian lives.

As news of Raisi’s death spread, reactions within Iran were divided, with the majority expressing their jubilation on social media—a contrast to the official mourning period declared by the Supreme Leader. The celebrations reflect a pent-up resentment and opposition toward a regime viewed as suppressive and economically disastrous, highlighting the deep divisions within Iranian society.

The comment by Afkari comes amid an escalating use of the death penalty in Iran, following the unprecedented nationwide protests in 2022. An Amnesty International report released last month, titled “Don’t Let Them Kill Us,” highlighted an unprecedented surge in executions in Iran in 2023. The report noted that at least 853 individuals were executed, with a significant portion of those executed being minorities, including Kurds.