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Iran | Wrestling Champion Navid Afkari Executed Despite International Outcries

Wrestling Champion Navid Afkari Executed Despite International Outcries

Navid Afkari was executed this morning in Adelabad Prison of Shiraz.

His family were told that he had been hanged.

Despite widespread international outcries in Iran and around the world to stop his execution, the Iranian regime hanged the young Iran protester in a bid to prevent further protests against the regime.

Navid Afkari, 27, was a wrestling champion who had never hurt anybody.

He was arrested on September 17, 2018 and accused of killing a Basij agent Hasan Turkman during the August 2018 protests in Shiraz.

Navid filed a complaint with the judiciary on September 13, 2019, detailing how he was forced to give false confessions while being subjected to “the most severe physical and psychological torture” during nearly 50 days in police detention.

“They put a plastic bag over my head and almost suffocated me. Using batons and other hard objects, they beat hard on my hands, abdomen, and legs. They used foul language and insulted me frequently. They tied me tight and poured alcohol down my nostrils,” Navid Afkari wrote in an open letter from detention.

In an audio file shared on August 30, 2020, Navid is heard saying that the Coroner’s Office in Shiraz carried out an examination of his injuries that were caused under torture.

“The evidence is there if the court wants to investigate [the acts of torture] … There is not one shred of evidence in this damned case that shows I am guilty. But they did not want to hear our voice. Then, I learned that they are looking for another head to hang from their noose,” Navid said.

Iran Human Rights Monitor strongly denounces the execution of Iran protester Navid Afkari and calls on international human rights organizations to take action to stop the killing of young Iranians for exercising their genuine right to freedom of expression.

The Iranian regime must be held accountable for its mockery of justice and killing of Iran’s youth on unfounded allegations.

Source: iran-hrm.com, Staff, September 12, 2020

The Clerical Regime in Iran Hanged the Wrestler Navid Afkari

Iran’s regime executed political prisoner Navid Afkari after torturing him and obtaining forced confessions. 

His death sentence was carried out despite a global campaign calling to spare Afkari’s life.

Hanging the wrestler Navid Afkari, this morning reflects the regime’s desperate need for stepping up repression. 

Despite these murderous acts, the regime cannot stem the growing tide of popular unrest and people’s uprising.

Impunity at the global level has allowed Iran’s regime to continue its brutal crimes against the Iranian people.

The international community must hold the mullahs to account for their human rights abuses.

Source: NCRI, Staff, September 12, 2020

Iran executes man whose case drew international attention

TEHRAN (AP) — Iran’s state TV is reporting that the country’s authorities has executed a wrestler for allegedly murdering a man after President Donald Trump asked for the 27-year-old condemned man's life to be spared.

State TV quoted the chief justice of Fars province, Kazem Mousavi as saying on Saturday: “The retaliation sentence against Navid Afkari, the killer of Hassan Turkman, was carried out this morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz.”

Afkari's case had drawn the attention of a social media campaign that portrayed him and his brothers as victims targeted over participating in protests against Iran’s 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 wrestler's televised confession last week. The segment resembled hundreds of other suspected coerced confessions aired over the last decade in the Islamic Republic.

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 Tehran’s Evin prison amid the coronavirus pandemic, passed word that she supported Afkari.

Earlier, the U.S. president Donald tweeted out his own concern about Afkari’s case.

“To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him,” Trump wrote last week. “Thank you!”

Iran responded to Trump’s tweet with a nearly 11-minute state TV package on Afkari. It included the weeping parents of the slain water company employee, Hassan Torkaman. The package included footage of Afkari on the back of a motorbike, saying he had stabbed Torkaman in the back, without explaining why he allegedly carried out the assault.

The state TV segment showed blurred police documents and described the killing as a “personal dispute,” without elaborating. It said Afkari’s cellphone had been in the area and it showed surveillance footage of him walking down a street, talking on his phone.

Also, Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim news agency dismissed Trump’s tweet in a feature story, saying that American sanctions have hurt Iranian hospitals amid the pandemic.

“Trump is worried about the life of a murderer while he puts many Iranian patients’ lives in danger by imposing severe sanctions,” the agency said.

Source: The Associated Press, Staff, September 12, 2020

Iran Human Rights Calls For International Condemnation of Navid Afkari’s Execution

Iran Human Rights (IHR); September 12, 2020: Navid Afkari, one of the defendants in the August 2018 protests case who was sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for being the “lead in murder” and to death for moharebeh (enmity against God) by the Revolutionary Court, was executed this morning. 

He vehemently denied the charges and spoke out against his forced confessions being used against him as evidence, until the day of his execution.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said: "Navid Afkari was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial and based on confessions extracted under torture. His execution is considered a crime under both international law and the laws of the Islamic Republic. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, head of the judiciary Ebrahim Raeisi, and anyone involved in this crime, including the State Broadcasting for airing Navid’s confessions must be held accountable.” He added: ”We call for strong international condemnations of Navid Afkari's execution. Without strong international reactions, many young Iranian protesters' lives will be in danger.”

Navid Afkari was only 27 years old. He was single, born in 1993 and a plasterer who also wrestled professionally and according to his family, had won several medals in national competitions.

Navid had been sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for the murder of a Hassan Turkman, a security guard at a government building who according to court documents had been sent to identify protesters in August 2018, and his brother Vahid has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for being the secondary in the murder by Branch One, Criminal Court One of Fars Province. 

The two brothers had told the court that all their confessions were false and obtained under torture. 

Iran Human Rights previously published some of the case files documenting the torture and had called on the international community to help stop his execution. 

All documents were made available to the international community.

Source: Iran Human Rights, Staff, September 12, 2020

Iran executes wrestler, evoking shock and condemnation

Iran said it executed a wrestler Saturday for murdering a man during a wave of anti-government protests in 2018, drawing widespread condemnation and eliciting shock from the International Olympic Committee.

Navid Afkari, 27, was executed at a prison in the southern city of Shiraz, provincial prosecutor general Kazem Mousavi was quoted as saying on state television's website.

Afkari had been found guilty of "voluntary homicide" for stabbing to death Hossein Torkman, a water department employee, on August 2, 2018, the judiciary said.

Shiraz and several other urban centres across Iran had been the scene that day of anti-government protests and demonstrations over economic and social hardship.

The International Olympic Committee said it was "shocked" by the execution and that it was "deeply upsetting" that pleas by athletes around the world and international bodies had failed to halt it.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari," the IOC said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced a "vicious" execution.

"We condemn it in the strongest terms. It is an outrageous assault on human dignity, even by the despicable standards of this regime. The voices of the Iranian people will not be silenced," Pompeo tweeted.

London-based rights group Amnesty International said the "secret execution" was a "horrifying travesty of justice that needs immediate international action".

Reports published abroad say Afkari was convicted on the basis of confessions aired on television after being extracted under torture, prompting online campaigns for his release.

Amnesty has repeatedly called on Iran to stop broadcasting videos of "confessions" by suspects, saying they "violate the defendants' rights".

The judiciary's Mizan Online news agency denied the accusations.

According to Amnesty, Afkari's two brothers Vahid and Habib are still in the same prison where he had been detained.

The death sentence had been carried out at "the insistence of the victim's family", said Mousavi, the prosecutor general for Fars province.

Afkari's lawyer, Hassan Younessi, tweeted that a number of people in Shiraz were to meet on Sunday with the slain worker's family to ask for their forgiveness.

He also said that based on criminal law in Iran "the convict has a right to meet his family before the execution."

"Were you in such a hurry to carry out the sentence that you deprived Navid of his last visit?"

Wrestling superpower

US President Donald Trump had pleaded for Afkari's life earlier this month, saying his "sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets".

"To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man's life, and not execute him. Thank you!" he said on Twitter.

Trump has maintained an aggressive approach of "maximum pressure" toward longtime US foe Iran since becoming president, enacting crippling economic sanctions after withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran and world powers in 2018.

A global union representing 85,000 athletes had also called on Iran to spare the wrestler's life.

In a statement published Tuesday on its website, World Players United had called on the International Olympic Committee to use its leverage to help Afkari.

Sweden joined the condemnation.

"Appalled by reports of the execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari," its foreign minister, Ann Linde, tweeted.

Campaign group Global Athlete said the execution was "heinous" and called for sanctions to stop Iran competing in international sport.

A small group of flag-waving protestors stood outside Iran's embassy in London on Saturday to condemn the execution, bearing placards showing crossed-out faces of Iran's supreme leader and president.

Wrestling is a hugely popular in Iran, one of the world's superpowers in the sport.

The Persian hashtag #Navid_Afkari was also being widely used on Twitter to protest the execution.

Iranian rights activist Emaddein Baghi tweeted that Afkari's execution was a "great sin" as the judiciary should have tried to persuade the murdered man's family to forgive the wrestler.

Lawyer Babak Paknia also criticised the judiciary for its "haste" to carry out the sentence.

"Even if a murder had really occurred, is it not the judicial system's procedure to do all that is possible to receive forgiveness?" he tweeted.

Paknia represents three men sentenced to death over links to similar protests in November, but the trio's execution was halted over a request to the supreme court to review the verdict.

Amnesty said Iran executed at least 251 people last year, the world's second highest toll after China.

Source: Agence France-Presse, Staff, September 12, 2020

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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