Iranian Wrestling Champion Executed in Case That Drew International Attention

TEHRAN—Iranian state TV on Saturday reported that the countrys authorities executed a wrestler for allegedly murdering a man after President Donald Trump asked for the 27-year-old condemned mans life to be spared.

State TV quoted the chief justice of Fars province, 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.”

Afkaris case had drawn the attention of a social media campaign that portrayed him and his brothers as victims targeted over participating in protests against Irans Shiite theocracy in 2018. Authorities accused Afkari of stabbing a water supply company employee in the southern city of Shiraz amid the unrest.

Iran broadcast the wrestlers televised confession last week. The segment resembled hundreds of other suspected coerced confessions aired over the last decade in the Islamic Republic.

The International Olympic Committee in a statement Saturday said it was shocked and saddened by the news of the wrestlers execution, and that the committees 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.”

The case revived a demand inside the country for Iran to stop carrying out the death penalty. Even imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, herself nearly a month into a hunger strike over conditions at Tehrans Evin prison amid the coronavirus pandemic, passed word that she supported Afkari.

Last week, Trump tweeted out his own concern about Afkaris case.

“To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young mans life, and not execute him,” Trump wrote. “Thank you!Read More – Source