Iran executes wrestler who said he was tortured for false confession

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Sept. 12 (UPI) — The Iranian government executed decorated wrestling champion Navid Afkari on Saturday, prompting outcry from human rights activists.

IRNA reported the country carried out the execution of the 27-year-old at a prison in Shiraz.

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CNN cited the state-run news agency, which said the punishment was for the death of Hasan Turkman, a government water and sewage department security agent. Amnesty International said the Iranian government used torture to extract a false confession from Afkari.

“This young man desperately sought help in court to receive a fair trial and prove his innocence. Leaked voice recordings of him in court expose how his pleas for judges to investigate his torture complaints and bring another detainee who had witnessed his torture to testify were unlawfully and cruelly ignored,” said Diana Eltahawy, AI’s deputy regionaly director for the Middle East and North Africa.

CNN reported the judiciary sentenced Afkari to “retribution-in-kind,” meaning he could be spared execution if he paid restitution to Turkman’s family and they forgive him. Afkari’s lawyer, Hassan Younesi, said supporters traveled to Shiraz to attempt to raise money for the restitution but the court informed his family he was already executed.

The International Olympic Committee released a statement saying it was “shocked” to learn about Afkari’s execution.

“In the past days, the IOC has been working with our full support to save Navid’s life. We are very saddened that ours and the efforts of the athlete community didn’t achieve the desired result,” the committee said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Navid’s family and friends in these very difficult times.”

Afkari’s brothers, Vahid and Habib, were sentenced to 54 years and 27 years in prison in the same case, the BBC reported.

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