Iran Executes Wrestler For Murder

 Iran Executes Wrestler For Murder

Iran has executed a wrestler accused of murder, defying international appeals for him to be spared.

State Media reports that Navid Afkari, aged 27, was sentenced to death over the murder of a security guard during a wave of anti-government protests in 2018.

He said he had been tortured into making a confession.

BBC reports that the union representing 85,000 athletes worldwide was among those to call for a stay of execution.

The World Players Association said he had been “unjustly targeted” for taking part in the protests, and called for Iran’s expulsion from world sport if it went ahead with the execution.

US President Donald Trump also appealed for mercy, saying the wrestler’s “sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets”.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) called his execution “very sad news” and said their thoughts were with his family and friends.

State Media reports that Afkari was executed by hanging in the southern city of Shiraz, on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

His brothers Vahid and Habib were sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison in the same case, according to human rights activists in Iran.

Afkari was a national champion in wrestling, a sport that has a long history and is hugely popular in Iran.

In 2018, protesters in cities across Iran took to the streets over economic hardship and political repression.


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