Navid Afkari, Iranian champion wrestler executed despite global outcry
A 27-year-old wrestler in Iran, Navid Afkari, Iranian champion wrestler, has been executed after being convicted of stabbing a security guard to death during anti-government protests in 2018.
According to BBC, Afkari was executed by hanging in the early hours of Saturday inside Adel-Abad prison in Shiraz.
He was executed “this morning after legal procedures were carried out at the insistence of the parents and the family of the victim,” IRNA, Iran’s state-run news agency, quoted the head of the justice department in the southern Fars province as saying.
Afkari was convicted of murdering Hassan Turkman, a water company security guard, among other charges.
The wrestler had said he was tortured into making a false confession — a claim that was denied by Iran’s judiciary.
The country’s supreme court also rejected a review of the case in August.
His death sentence had earlier sparked global outrage with calls to overturn his execution.
The world players association, an international body that represents about 85,000 professional athletes, had called for Iran’s expulsion from world sport if it went ahead with the execution.
“The horrific act of executing an athlete can only be regarded as a repudiation of the humanitarian values that underpin sport,” Brendan Schwab, WPA director, had said in a statement.
Donald Trump, US president, was also among those who pleaded with the Iranian government not to execute the wrestler.
“Hearing that Iran is looking to execute a great and popular wrestling star, 27-year-old Navid Afkarai, whose sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets. They were protesting the “country’s worsening economic situation and inflation”. To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him. Thank you!,” Trump had written on Twitter.
Vahid and Habib, Afkari’s brothers, were also sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison in the same case.
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