Iran Acts with Impunity in Executing Navid Afkari

0
543
Despite the international community's appeals and calls for revoking the death sentences of Navid Afkari, Iranian authorities executed this wrestling champion on September 12
Despite the international community’s appeals and calls for revoking the death sentences of Navid Afkari, Iranian authorities executed this wrestling champion on September

By Pooya Stone

At dawn on Saturday, September 12, 2020, Iranian authorities executed Navid Afkari, a 27-year-old wrestling champion, an innocent individual, and a protester. In September 2018, security forces detained Navid for participating in the August 2018 protests. He was severely tortured by interrogators to confess to what he had never committed.

Iranian authorities executed Navid Afkari despite an international campaign to spare his life. In the past week, many athletes inside Iran and abroad constantly demanded the Iranian government to suspend the unfair sentence against him.

On September 1, in an initiative by a group of Iranian athletes and sports champions, members of the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), alongside 48 Iranian sports champions, wrote to the UN Secretary-General, the International Olympic Committee President, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and President of the Human Rights Council, calling for their urgent intervention to halt Afkari’s execution.

Mr. Moslem Eskandar Filabi, a national hero in Iran and winner of 17 national and international wrestling competitions, and Chairman of the NCRI Athletics Committee, Dr. Mohammad Ghorbani, a gold medalist in the 1971 World Wrestling Championships in 1971, and Messrs. Bahram Mavaddat, Asghar Adibi, Hassan Nayeb Agha, and Abbas Novin Rouzegar, members of Iran’s national football team and NCRI members, were among the signatories.

Additionally, two wrestling champions Mohammad Reza Geraei and Mohammad Ali Geraei announced their support for Navid Afkari and posted image of this death-row political prisoner on their Instagram pages.

Iranian athletes demanded authorities to abolish the death penalty against Navid Afkari
Iranian athletes demanded authorities to abolish the death penalty against Navid Afkari

Furthermore, many international figures and athletes, including the U.S. President Donald Trump, Senator Marco Rubio, the State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, Amnesty International, President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Dana White, Executive Director of World Players Association Brendan Schwab, U.S. national champion wrestler and founder of non-profit Wrestler Like a Girl Sally Roberts, and many others.

However, the Iranian government rejected the international appeals and even refused a retrial in the Navid Afkari case. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), severely condemned this crime. “The religious fascism ruling Iran will not survive a day without executions, torture and domestic suppression. By spilling the blood of young people like Navid Afkari the mullahs seek to maintain their hold on power in the face of  Iran Protests,” She tweeted.

Mrs. Rajavi also called on the United Nations Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to take practical, effective measures against the regime in Iran over the execution of Navid Afkari and 120,000 political prisoners.