Iran’s judicial authorities reported on Saturday, Sept. 12, that Navid Afkari, a 27-year-old wrestling champion, who had been sentenced to death for murder, was eventually executed in Fars Province, despite numerous requests not to carry out the sentence, sent by numerous organizations and personalities of the world, including President Trump.
According to The Associated Press (AP), the state television quoted the chairman of the Supreme Court of Fars, Kazem Mousavi as saying: “The retaliation sentence against Navid Afkari, the killer of Hassan Torkaman, was carried out this morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz.”
Afkari was arrested on Sept. 17, 2018, and was sentenced to two death sentences for the murder of a water company employee in the southern city of Shiraz during mass protests against political repression in Iran. His brothers Vahid and Habib have also been sentenced to prison terms in connection with this murder and to whipping.
According to the information that came out, Afkari had participated in the massive protests against political repression in Iran during 2018, the murder is said to have taken place during the protests, and it is suspected that the regime wanted to use his death sentence as an example for the rest of society, due to his high profile in the country.
Iranian state television last week broadcast the alleged confession of the murderer. According to human rights groups and opponents of the regime, the video was very similar to other confessions published by the Iranian regime that were broadcast during the last decade and allegedly coerced under torture by the government itself. At least 355 such forced confessions have reportedly been published in the last decade, according to AP.
The International Olympic Committee in an official statement on Saturday said it was shocked and saddened by the news of the fighter’s execution, and that the committee’s president, Thomas Bach, “had made direct personal appeals to the supreme leader and to the President of Iran this week and asked for mercy for Navid Afkari.”
Other major global associations joined the calls to stop the execution, including FIFA, the World Players Association, Amnesty International, and dozens of other human rights organizations. Last week President Trump also sent a Twitter message to Iranian authorities to reconsider the situation and cancel the death penalty.
The message said, “To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate it if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him. Thank you!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2020
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which represents the strongest opposition to the Iranian theocratic government, according to Fox News said that the Iranian people will not remain silent in the face of the execution of Navid Afkari, whom they consider innocent. And that especially the youth of the nation will stand in solidarity with the unjust execution.
Maryam Rajavi, the current president of the NCRI, said in a statement regarding the execution of Afkari “will only add fuel to the flames of the Iranian people’s uprising and will strengthen their determination to overthrow the clerical regime and to establish freedom and democracy.”