Iran executes Olympic champion wrestler despite global outcry and pleas

Iran executes Olympic champion wrestler despite global outcry and pleas


The Republic of Iran has executed an Olympic champion wrestler, Navid Afkari, over an alleged murder during a protest March.

27 years old Afkari was executed in the early hours of Saturday, 12 September at a prison in the southern city of Shiraz, provincial prosecutor general Kazem Mousavi was quoted as saying on Iranian state television’s website.

According to the country’s judiciary, Afkari had been found guilty of “voluntary homicide” for stabbing to death Hossein Torkman.

On the day of the alleged murder, Shiraz and other Iranian cities had been the scene of anti-government protests and demonstrations over economic and social hardship.

Reports allege that Afkari was condemned on the basis of confessions extracted under torture.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reacted to the execution, stating their disappointment at his execution despite their pleas.

The IOC said it was “shocked” by Saturday’s execution;

“The IOC is shocked by this announcement today,”

IOC 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, while respecting the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind-the-scenes work of the IOC, together with the NOC of Iran, United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, did not achieve our goal.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari,” Bach added.

US President Donald Trump had earlier pleaded for Afkari’s life saying that 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 wrote on Twitter.

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