Navid Afkari Biography
Navid Afkari was an Iranian wrestler who was accused of murder after he took part in a 2018 protest. He was executed on September 12, 2020 at a prison in the southern city of Shiraz.
Navid Afkari Age
He was 27 years old at the time of his death.
Navid Afkari Wrestling Career
Afkari was a young wrestler who was not well known before he was charged with a death sentence. There is no much information available about his wrestling career. Despite not having competed in the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee and many urged the organization to take action against Iran if the execution went forward. The organization, they said, has an obligation to protect athletes at all levels.
Navid Afkari Conviction
Navid was convicted and given two death sentences after he was accused of fatally stabbing a water-utility worker amid the unrest in his home city, Shiraz, which was a center of anti-government protests that swept the country in 2018.
According to the NewYork Times, the 2018 protest was set off by grievances like a weak economy, strict Islamic rules and water shortages. Mr. Afkari and two brothers were said to have been among those demonstrating in Shiraz.
According to his mother, Bahieh Namjoo, the security agents came to the family home and seized Mr. Afkari and one of his brothers. They later arrested the other brother. His brothers Vahid and Habib were sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison in the same case.
Navid was sentenced to two death sentences. The charges were met with widespread skepticism in Iran and abroad, with many government critics saying he was being used as an example to silence dissent. In an audiotape smuggled from prison, Mr. Afkari said he had been tortured until he falsely confessed to the crime.
The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said, as per People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, that Navid Afkari had written to them in September 2019 to report that he had confessed to the crimes under torture.
“For around 50 days I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures.For around 50 days I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures.” Afkari reportedly wrote.
A forensic pathologist has since confirmed that injuries sustained in prison by Afkari were from torture, while eyewitnesses also told of the torture. The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the evidence as inconclusive, according to Iran Human Rights.
President Donald Trump said Mr. Afkari had done nothing more than take part in a protest, and asked Iran to spare his life.
“Hearing that Iran is looking to execute a great and popular wrestling star, 27-year-old Navid Afkarai [sic], whose sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets. They were protesting the “country’s worsening economic situation and inflation”. To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him. Thank you!”
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim News Agency dismissed Trump’s tweet in a feature story, saying that US sanctions had 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.”
Navid Afkari Execution
On September 12, 2020 Navid was executed by hanging in the Adel-Abad prison in Shiraz. International Olympic Committee released a statement after the execution and said they were shocked and saddened by the execution.
“In letters, Thomas Bach, the I.O.C. President 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 I.O.C., together with the NOC of Iran, United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, did not achieve our goal.”
How Was Navid Afkari Executed
Navid was executed by hanging.