• Bassma Al Jandaly, Editor In Chief

Navid Afkari: Iran executes young wrestler despite global plea



Iran-- Iran has executed a wrestler accused of murder, state media report, defying international appeals for him to be spared.


Navid Afkari, 27, was sentenced to death over the murder of a security guard during a wave of anti-government protests in 2018.


Afkari was a national champion in wrestling, a sport that has a long history and is hugely popular in Iran.


Afkari was executed by hanging in the southern city of Shiraz, state media report.


Navid Afkari, 27, was sentenced to death over the murder of a security guard during a wave of anti-government protests in 2018.


His brothers Vahid and Habib were sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison in the same case, according to human rights activists in Iran.




He said he had been tortured into making a confession.


The World Players Association said he had been "unjustly targeted" for taking part in the protests, and called for Iran's expulsion from world sport if it went ahead with the execution.

US President Donald Trump also appealed for mercy, saying the wrestler's "sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets".


In an audio recording leaked from the prison where he is being held, Afkari said he had been tortured. His mother said her sons were forced to testify against each other.


The brothers' lawyer, Hassan Younesi, said on Twitter that contrary to Iranian news reports, there was no video of the moment of the security guard's killing. He added that footage used as evidence in the case was taken an hour before the crime took place.


The Iranian authorities have denied accusations of torture.


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 US President tweeted out his own concern about Afkari’s case.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

© 2023 UAE editorial

  • Instagram
  • White Facebook Icon