Execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari

From Navid Afkari’s night-time burial, only a 30-second video, dated September 12, came out. Under the light of cell phones and while the cries of distress echo, we see a body covered in a white fabric which slips between the hands of ten men, before being placed in a tomb. The 27-year-old wrestler Navid Afkari was hanged hours earlier for the murder of a government employee in Shiraz (south) during protests in that city in 2018 against the country’s economic and political situation. Navid Afkari and his family have always denied this accusation, arguing that he was forced to confess under torture, and the victim of a scenario imagined by the Iranian intelligence services.

Navid Afkari was sentenced to death twice for “homicide” and for “Moharebeh”, war against God, a charge often used against opponents in Iran. His two brothers, Habib and Vahid, arrested a few months after him, were sentenced to long prison terms. With at least 251 executions in 2019, Iran is the country that uses the death penalty the most after China.

After the validation of his death sentence by the Supreme Court on September 2, Navid Afkari made an audio recording from his cell in Shiraz in which he describes the ill-treatment to which he was subjected. “My head was placed in a plastic bag. I almost suffocated and died, he explains in this message. For their rope, they are looking for a neck. “ The young wrestler, who has won several medals, also maintains that his two brothers were arrested in an attempt to push him to admit the murder and that he feared for other members of his family, including his mother and sister.

Reactions have multiplied on the international scene

After the hanging of Navid Afkari, one of his lawyers, Hassan Younesi, denounced the fact that his client had been deprived of his right to a last visit from his family. “Were you in such a hurry to apply it that you deprived Navid of one last visit?” “, he wrote on Twitter. The lawyer also said that efforts had been made to ask for mercy from the family of the government employee.

This weekend, reactions have multiplied on the international scene. The French foreign ministry on Sunday condemned the wrestler’s execution. The head of American diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, for his part denounced an act ” cruel “.

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