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48 of Iran’s sport champions call to halt execution of Navid Afkari

Hassan Nayeb Agha, former member of Iran’s national football team during the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, campaigning to save the life of Iran’s wrestling champion Navid Afkari sentenced to death for taking part in major protests.
Hassan Nayeb Agha, former member of Iran’s national football team during the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, campaigning to save the life of Iran’s wrestling champion Navid Afkari sentenced to death for taking part in major protests.

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, September 4, 2020—“For around 50 days I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures. They would beat me with sticks and batons, hitting my arms, legs, abdomen, and back. They would place a plastic bag on my head and torture me until I suffocated to the very brink of death and poured alcohol into my nose.”

These are words of Navid Afkari, a 27-year old wrestling champion of Iran who has been sentenced to death for taking part in the August 2018 protests in Fars province. Many people across the globe have called for a halt to his execution.

The Iranian regime has a dark record of executing sports champions for their political viewpoints against the mullahs. “No regime in history has executed, tortured and imprisoned so many national champions,” said Hassan Nayeb Agha, a former member of Iran’s national football team during the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, in an interview with Iranian opposition TV network Iran National Television (INTV) on September 2.

“Many national champions who participated in the World Cup and Olympics, men and women, young and old, were executed. Therefore, when Navid Afkari’s death sentence was raised, the Iranian sports community responded by launching an international campaign,” Nayeb Agha continued.

On September 1, in an initiative by a group of Iranian athletes and sports champions, members of the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), alongside 48 Iranian sports champions, wrote to the UN Secretary-General, the International Olympic Committee President, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and President of the Human Rights Council, calling for their urgent intervention to halt Afkari’s execution.

Mr. Moslem Eskandar Filabi, a national hero in Iran and winner of 17 national and international wrestling competitions, and Chairman of the NCRI Athletics Committee, Dr. Mohammad Ghorbani, a gold medalist in the 1971 World Wrestling Championships in 1971, and Messrs. Bahram Mavaddat, Asghar Adibi, Hassan Nayeb Agha, and Abbas Novin Rouzegar, members of Iran’s national football team and NCRI members, are among the signatories.

Navid Afkari has been sentenced to double execution, six-and-a-half years’ imprisonment, and 74 lashes for taking part in protests in the southern city of Kazerun in the summer of 2018.

His two brothers, Vahid, 35, and Habib, 29, were also sentenced to 54 years and six months, and 27 years in prison, respectively, along with 74 lashes each.

Navid Afkari, a 27-year old wrestling champion in Iran, has been sentenced to death by the genocidal regime ruling Iran.

Navid Afkari, a 27-year old wrestling champion in Iran, has been sentenced to death by the genocidal regime ruling Iran.

“The regime’s vicious crimes against sports champions has a dark history,” continued Nayeb Agha, adding that Habib Khabiri, a former captain of the Iranian national football team, was arrested in 1980 and executed three years later for supporting the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Houshang Montazerolzohour, a wrestling champion during the 1976 Summer Olympics of Montreal; Forouzan Abdi, a member of Iran’s national women’s volleyball team; known football players Mahshid Razaghi and Ala Kouchali are also among those who were executed.

“This regime must be punished for these crimes and Iran’s sports community, the people and the international community should work hard to stop these executions,” Nayeb Agha emphasized.

Habib Khabiri, former captain of the Iranian National Football Team, executed on 21 June 1986 by the mullahs’ regime.

Habib Khabiri, former captain of the Iranian National Football Team, executed on 21 June 1986 by the mullahs’ regime.

NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi has repeatedly called for a halt to all executions in Iran, emphasizing that more than ever before it is highly imperative to dispatch an international fact-finding mission to visit Iran’s prisons and meet with prisoners.

“The cries of the Afkari brothers is the cry of thousands upon thousands of political prisoners who were either martyred under torture or executed with wounded bodies,” Madam Rajavi added.

The NCRI President-elect also urged the UN Security Council, the Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner and the Human Rights Council, as well as the European Union to take immediate action to secure the release of the Afkari brothers and all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Iran.

Along with Iranian sports champions, many political figures and athletes throughout the world have raised their voice to save the life of Navid Afkari and his brothers, including U.S. President Donald Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The list of 48 Iranian sports champions that called to halt Navid Afkari’s execution are as follow:

We, the undersigned are calling on all athletes and olympians worldwide to support our call and do whatever in their capacity to help save Mr. Navid Afkari’s life. Your support will show that the people of Iran and their athletes are not alone in seeking justice and human dignity: 

  1. Mr. Moslem Eskandar Filabi, winner of 17 medals at national and international wrestling events 
  2. Dr. Mohammad Ghorbani, World Wrestling Champion, 1971
  3. Mr. Asghar Adibi, member of Iran’s national football team
  4. Mr. Bahram Movaddat, member of Iran’s national football team
  5. Mr. Hassan Nayebagha, member of Iran’s national football team
  6. Mr. Abbas Novin Rouzegar, member of Iran’s national football team
  7. Mr. Manouchehr Arastoupoor, World Canoeing silver medalist, veteran
  8. Ms. Golpar Parvardeh, silver medalist, European Championship
  9. Ms. Solmaz Abuali, US karate champion
  10. Ms. Firouzeh Ojagh, Iran Women’s Basketball Team member
  11. Ms. Neda Amani, club football player, Switzerland
  12. Ms. Mina Lajmir, basketball player
  13. Mr. Kazem Gholami, Iran, Asia and Teflis Cup Champion
  14. Mr. Iraj Adibzadeh, sports host, reporter and analyzer
  15. Mr. Mansour Bahrami, Iran, Asia and ATP ranking tennis player
  16. Mr. Mahmoud Sarabi, sports host and analyzer
  17. Mr. Mohammad Behrouzi, oficial Football Federation referee
  18. Mr. Saeed Ipakchi, Iran athletic champion
  19. Mr. Akbar Parizani, Iran fencing champion
  20. Mr. Mehdi Ghazal, member of Iran’s national football team
  21. Mr. Hossein Fadakar, member of Iran’s national football team
  22. Mr. Yousef Mahdavi, Iran club football champion
  23. Mr. Ali Sajjadi, Iran club football champion
  24. Mr. Majid Moshtari, Iran club football champion
  25. Mr. Mohammad Azadan, Iran club football champion
  26. Mr. Jaafar Azarmgin, Iran club football champion
  27. Mr. Farhad Azari, Iran club football champion
  28. Dr. Shahram Homayounfar, Iran club football champion
  29. Mr. Reza Azadi, Iran club football champion
  30. Dr. Hadi Nikoonezhad, Iran diving national champion
  31. Mr. Reza Mohammadi, Iran club football champion
  32. Mr. Mohammad Yousefali, Iran club football champion
  33. Mr. Khosro Alikhani, Iran club football champion
  34. Mr. Khosro Parvardeh, Iran club football champion
  35. Mr. Jamshid Heidari, Iran club football champion
  36. Mr. Mosayyeb Jalali, Iran club wrestling champion
  37. Mr. Bahman Abedini, Taekwando
  38. Mr. Majid Rahimi, Taekwando
  39. Mr. Sivan Barzegar, Taekwando
  40. Mr. Massoud Ipakchi, sports expert
  41. Mr. Siamak Tahooni, football player
  42. Mr. Saeed Saeedpour, football player
  43. Mr. Mohammad Darafarin, football player
  44. Mr. Akbar Haghighi, football player
  45. Mr. Javid Haghighi, football player
  46. Mr. Edvin Tehrani, weightlifter
  47. Mr. Esmail Mohades, football player
  48. Mr. Arash Filabi, wrestler