September 16, 2020
Responding to the execution of young Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari, the former Vice President of the International Football Federation, FIFA, Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan, is calling for the banning of Iran from participating in all international sports events.
The half-brother of King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prince Ali tweeted on Sunday, September 13, “It is with horror to learn that Navid was murdered in Iran without a fair and open trial.” He added that if the international sports bodies want to indeed stand against such moves, they should “ban Iran from any international competitions until they adhere to basic human rights.”
Furthermore, Prince Ali, who is currently the chairman of Jordan’s football federation, reiterated that Afkari’s unfair trial behind closed doors was “shameful.”
Despite international protest, Iran decided to carry out the death penalty and hanged Afkari, a national wrestling champion, on Friday.
Afkari was previously found guilty of “voluntary manslaughter” for killing a water and sewage department security officer, Hossein Torkman, in August 2018, amid mass anti-government protests that shook more than 100 cities across Iran.
Afkari claimed that he was tortured into making a false confession, according to his family and activists. In a voice message, the young champion said about his fate, “They have prepared a rope and are searching for a neck.”
Afkari’s attorney had also repeatedly insisted that there was no proof of his guilt.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was “shocked” by the execution and that it was “deeply upsetting” that pleas by athletes around the world and international bodies failed to halt it.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari,” the IOC said in a statement.
London-based rights group Amnesty International said the “secret execution” was a “horrifying travesty of justice that needs immediate international action.”
Navid Afkari’s brothers, Vahid and Habib, were each sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison, respectively. In the past few days, the Afkari brothers released several audio files saying that their so-called confessions were forced under constant pressure and torture.
The body of Afkari, who was executed in Shiraz’s infamous Adelabad prison, was reportedly buried “overnight,” in secret, and “under tight security.”