Iran Executes Navid Afkari, 27-Year-Old Professional Wrestler Involved In The 2018 Anti-Government Protests After Being Tortured Into Making A False Murder Confession

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Iran Executes Navid Afkari, 27-Year-Old Professional Wrestler Involved In The 2018 Anti-Government Protests After Being Tortured Into Making A False Murder Confession

Photo: Navid Afkari had said he was tortured into making a false confession. Photograph: Twitter/UN Watch


The state of Iran has executed a famed 27-year-old wrestler, Navid Afkari, despite global outcry and condemnation.


The state claims that Mr. Afkari murdered a security guard during the 2018 protests against the regime in Tehran. However, Mr. Afkari has always denied involvement and says that a confession was tortured out from him after his arrest.


Mr. Afkari was put to death by hanging in the city of Shiraz without being able to first see his family. He had been the Iranian national wrestling champion, which has made his case even more prominent, as Iran is a country with a wide public interest in wrestling.


Human Rights Group Amnesty International condemned the killing, the group describing the execution as a 'travesty of justice'.


The group was however able to release a statement by Afkari himself, in which he said:


"If I am executed, I want you to know that an innocent person, even though he tried and fought with all his strength to be heard, was executed."


The execution was also opposed by The World Players Association, an international sports union with over 80,000 members, who said that the killing had taken place not because of any murder but because of Mr. Afkari's political views.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also released a statement saying:


"It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind-the-scenes work of the IOC... did not achieve our goal."


During the trial, his brothers were even apparently forced to testify against each other under threat of further torture. For the same crime, his brothers received sentences of 54 and 27 years in prison.


In 2017 and 2018, mass protests erupted on the streets of Iran with those involved seeking greater democratic and human rights, such as freedom of the press, and greater economic stability. Some protestors even called for the fall of the Islamic regime that has ruled the country since the 1979 revolution.


During the protests, over 20 people were killed and almost 5,000 people were arrested. In 2019 Iran had the highest number of official executions in the world, with over 250 people put to death for a variety of crimes. China is, however, suspected of executing more people though these statistics are not made public. In 2019 in the United States, 22 people were put to death.


Iran has been under extreme economic sanctions from the European Union and the United States for a number of years and it is thought their economy is suffering badly. It is not yet known whether the execution of Mr. Afkari and the ongoing social and economic turmoil will result in a fresh wave of protests against the regime.

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Thinking Humanity: Iran Executes Navid Afkari, 27-Year-Old Professional Wrestler Involved In The 2018 Anti-Government Protests After Being Tortured Into Making A False Murder Confession
Iran Executes Navid Afkari, 27-Year-Old Professional Wrestler Involved In The 2018 Anti-Government Protests After Being Tortured Into Making A False Murder Confession
The state of Iran has executed a famed 27-year-old wrestler, Navid Afkari, despite global outcry and condemnation. The state claims that Mr. Afkari murdered a security guard during the 2018 protests against the regime in Tehran. However, Mr. Afkari has always denied involvement and says that a confession was tortured out from him after his arrest. Mr. Afkari was put to death by hanging in the city of Shiraz without being able to first see his family. He had been the Iranian national wrestling champion, which has made his case even more prominent, as Iran is a country with a wide public interest in wrestling.
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