Iran announced on Saturday that it had executed a 27-year-old wrestler, Navid Afkari, sentenced to death for the murder of an official in “riots” in 2018, according to the state television website.
The sentence of “qesas”, that is to say the “law of retaliation”, a sentence of “retribution”, was carried out this Saturday morning in a prison in Shiraz, said on state television the Attorney General of the province of Fars, Kazem Mousavi. The death penalty was applied “at the insistence of the family of the victim”, he added.
But according to Navid Afkari’s lawyer, Me Hassan Younessi, a meeting with the victim’s family was to take place on Sunday to “ask for forgiveness” and thus avoid the application of the death penalty. “Were you in such a hurry that you refused to Navid his right to a last visit”, protested Me Younessi on Twitter.
The wrestling champion was arrested in 2018 after riots in Shiraz, in reaction to water shortages in the south of the country. He was accused of stabbing a member of the municipal water authority to death.
Confessions under torture
During his trial, Navid Afkari explained that a confession had been extracted from him by torture. His lawyers defended him by referring to witnesses assuring that he was not on the scene at the time of the death of the official. In vain. He was sentenced to death on September 2. His two brothers Vahid and Habib, arrested with him, were sentenced to prison terms.
The human rights organization Amnesty International was alarmed on Friday about the “imminent secret execution” of Navid Afkari, claiming that he and his two brothers were the “last victims of the weak Iranian justice system”.
Several sportsmen were mobilized in favor of the wrestler. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was “shocked” by this execution.
The IOC condemns
“It is deeply regrettable that the appeals from athletes around the world, and all the work behind the scenes of the IOC, with the Iranian National Olympic Committee, the International Wrestling Federation and the Iranian Wrestling Federation, have not achieved their goal.” , regretted the IOC in a press release.
Donald Trump had addressed Iranian officials asking them to “not execute” the wrestler.
With at least 251 executions in 2019, Iran is, after China, the country that uses the death penalty the most according to the latest global report on the death penalty published by Amnesty International. This number has nevertheless “halved” compared to 2018, according to Amnesty.