Iran executes wrestler despite plea from Trump to spare his life

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Iran says they have executed a wrestler accused of killing a security guard during anti-government protests two years ago, proceeding with the sentence despite international outcry and pleas from President Trump and UFC chief Dana White to spare the man’s life.

Iranian authorities say Navid Afkari stabbed and killed Hassan Turkman during 2018 protests against the country’s ruling theocracy.

Supporters of the 27-year-old championship wrestler, however, said he was a political prisoner and was being unfairly targeted because of his participation in the protests.

“The retaliation sentence against Navid Afkari, the killer of Hassan Turkman, was carried out this morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz,” the chief justice of Fars province, Kazem Mousavi, said in brief statement on state TV today

His case was taken up by Ultimate Fighting Championship boss Dana White and President Trump.

“To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him. Thank you!” Trump tweeted last week, saying his “sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets.”

Navid Afkari
Navid AfkariEPA

Iran’s Ayatollah’s immediately struck back after the tweet, producing an 11-minute video aired on state television, showing footage both of Turkman’s crying parents and video of Afkari allegedly confessing to the crime while on the back of a motorcycle.

“Trump is worried about the life of a murderer while he puts many Iranian patients’ lives in danger by imposing severe sanctions,” the country’s Tasnim news agency said at the time.

The execution was also condemned by the International Olympic Committee

A protester holds a placard with the picture of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari.
A protester holds a placard with the picture of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari.EPA

“The execution of wrestler Navid Afkari in Iran is very sad news. The IOC is shocked by this announcement today,” they said in a statement Saturday, which also revealed they had personally lobbied the Iranians on the issue as well.

“It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind-the-scenes work of the IOC … did not achieve our goal. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari,” they said.

With Post wires



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