Iran’s motives are clear in putting Navid Afkari to death

The former champion Greco-Roman wrestler maintained his innocence at all times, says Borzou Daragahi

Sunday 13 September 2020 18:08
Navid Afkari was hanged despite international calls for Iran to halt the execution
Navid Afkari was hanged despite international calls for Iran to halt the execution

In the days before Iran put to death former champion Greco-Roman wrestler Navid Afkari on dubious murder charges in connection with the death of a government employee in 2018 protests, his family and many supporters inside and outside the country held out hope for some kind of leniency. 

After all, the 27-year-old had captured the attention of the international community, with both Donald Trump and a major international sports union calling for some kind of reprieve.

Nevertheless, on Saturday morning, Afkari was taken from his cell at a high-security wing of a prison in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz and put to death. His family is devastated. Both of his brothers were also arrested for the crime of killing Hassan Torkaman – variously described as an intelligence officer or a water company official – in an August 2018 demonstration and forced to testify against their sibling.

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