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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Iran Executes Wrestler After He Participated in Anti-Government Protests

The Iranian government executed wrestler Navid Afkari on Sept. 12 after he took part in protests against the government in 2018.

Afkari had been charged with killing security guard Hassan Turkman; Afkari said that he was tortured into giving a false confession. Afkari’s attorneys also alleged that the government proceeded with the execution of Afkari without giving his family a chance to visit him.

Seyed Kazem Mousavi, who heads the local judiciary, told state-run media that the execution was “carried out after due judicial process and at the insistence of the family of the murdered victim.”

Afkari’s two brothers, Vahid and Habib, were sentenced to 54 years in prison and 27 years in prison, respectively, in the same case. Vahid and Habib participated in the 2018 protests with Afkari.

Jewish groups expressed outrage over Afkari’s execution.

“Iran should be expelled from [the International] Olympics for execution of #NavidAfkari, an athlete who wanted a dignified life for all Iranians,” American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris tweeted. “This isn’t a time for silence or check-the-box statements. It’s a time for world to act & send a clear message to Tehran.”

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center similarly tweeted, “We weep for Navid, we weep for people of #Iran. European nations must stop propping up criminal Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei and his murderous thuggish regime. #Tokyo Olympics should bar them.”

Israel’s official Twitter account, which the Foreign Ministry manages, also tweeted, “While we celebrate the seeds of peace being planted across the region, we mourn for #NavidAfkari and so many other Iranians whose lives have been taken by the violence and terror of the Iranian regime. May Navid’s memory be a blessing.”

The International Olympic Committee as well as President Donald Trump were among those who had urged the Iranian government not to executive Afkari.

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