Iran said it has executed champion wrestler Navid Afkari who was sentenced to death for his role in protests in 2018. The 27-year-old was outspoken about his innocence and had garnered international attention from US President Trump, Fifa, and many other global sports figures.
According to the IRGC affiliated Tasnim News Agency, the Chief Justice of Fars Province in southwestern Iran announced that Navid was hanged this morning. The regime had accused Navid of killing a security agent, a charge he vehemently denied and said was forced to confess to under torture.
Shiraz’s Chief Justice, Kazem Mousavi said that Navid was hanged upon the “insistence of the victim’s family'”. This is while according to Mehdi Mahmoudian, an Iranian “reformist” politician, the victim’s family was going to agree to forgo the execution.
“We had gotten on the plane to go to Shiraz with Navid Afkari’s brother because the victim’s family had agreed to talk to us about forgoing the (execution). We were all hopeful that they would give their consent. One minute before departure they called and informed his brother that Navid was hanged,” he tweeted today.
According to DorrTV, an Iranian TV that operates from outside of Iran, the execution was carried out upon direct orders from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Navid’s lawyer, Hassan Younesi said that his parents were not allowed a last visit with their son.
“You were in such a hurry to execute him that you deprived Navid of his last visit?” he tweeted addressing the regime.
Last week, Navid and his two brothers, Habib and Vahid were transferred to a high-security prison section in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison and were cut off from the world. The Afkari brothers were taken to the “Guidance” Section, notorious for its horrid conditions, lack of minimum facilities, and reports of suicides, rapes, and murders.
Navid Afkari was sentenced to two executions, prison, and lashes while two of his brothers were sentenced to overall 81 years of prison and lashes for their participation in nationwide protests in August 2018.
Navid’s letters and voice messages from prison, stressing that he was tortured to make false confessions, led to a global campaign for the termination of his death sentence.
In one of the voice messages, he said that the regime wanted an excuse to hang him.
“Despite writing continuously that I was forced to confess under torture and that there was not even one piece of evidence to prove my guilt in this damn case, they didn’t want to hear my voice.”
“I realized they just want a neck to throw their noose around,” Navid Afkari said in the message from prison.