An Iranian Greco-Roman wrestler, Navid Afkari, was executed on the morning of September 12 in a prison in Shiraz.
He received two death sentences in connection with the murder of Hassan Turkman, a security officer for the water company, during the 2018 protests.
In defense of the athlete, a large-scale campaign was organized, to which large international sports organizations, US President Donald Trump and UFC head Dana White joined.
Afkari was arrested in August 2018 along with his brothers Wahid and Habib.
They were charged with the murder of Turkman and participation in the protests that took place in those days in the country.
The Afkari brothers were sent to prison for 54 and 27 years, and the 27-year-old wrestler, who won medals in national competitions, was sentenced to two deaths.
The Iranian Supreme Court refused the athlete to review the case.
According to media reports, Afkari was executed in accordance with the law, according to which he should receive a punishment similar to the act committed.
Afkari had the opportunity to compensate the Turkman family for material damage, but the relatives of the deceased, according to local publications, refused to accept compensation and to forgive the accused.
In early September, Iranian state television aired a video in which Afkari made a confession to the murder and took part in an investigative experiment, during which he showed how he inflicted the fatal blows on a victim.
They also showed documents signed by the fighter, in which he confessed to the crime.
At the same time, the Afkari family is confident in his innocence.
Earlier, his mother Bahi Namju recorded a video message in which she said that the case against Navid was allegedly fabricated, and that the fighter and his brothers were tortured in order to get confessions and the necessary testimony from them.
She also claimed that she was unable to contact her son and did not know about his location.
Afkari only once managed to send home an audio message in which he said that he made his confessions under torture.
© @UN Watch
The Afkari case quickly attracted the attention of the entire sports community.
The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach expressed his concern about the planned execution of the wrestler.
When it became known that the sentence was being carried out, the organization said that it was deeply saddened by what had happened.
“The execution of the Iranian fighter Navid Afkari is very sad news.
The IOC is shocked by this news.
Thomas Bach appealed directly to the Supreme Leader and President of Iran with a request to pardon Afkari, while recognizing the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic.
We are deeply saddened that the pleas of athletes from all over the world and the unofficial efforts of the IOC and other organizations have not yielded results, ”the statement said.
US President Donald Trump also asked to cancel Afkari's execution.
According to him, the fighter was persecuted for participating in anti-government rallies, which should not be punished with such a harsh punishment.
“I heard that Iran wants to execute an excellent famous fighter, 27-year-old Navid Afkari, whose only crime is participation in an anti-government demonstration.
The protesters spoke out against "the deteriorating economic situation in the country and inflation."
I appeal to the leadership of Iran, I would be grateful to you if you saved the life of this young man and did not execute him.
- wrote on his Twitter Trump in early September.
The President of the United States was supported by the head of the Absolute Fighting Championship (UFC) Dana White.
He stated that he could not ignore the Afkari case, as he is part of the wrestling community.
“Navid Afkari went to a peaceful protest, and now he is being executed for this ... First, he is a man.
Secondly, he is one of us.
Any of my fighters could have been in his place.
The only thing that came to my mind was to call President Trump and ask him to help this man.
He said that he would consider with his administration the question of whether it is possible to somehow save him ... I also, with respect and humility, ask the Iranian authorities not to execute this man and save his life, ”White said.