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Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari buried under severe restrictions

Navid Afkari, Iranian wrestling champion and political prisoner, executed for taking part in anti-regime protests
Navid Afkari, Iranian wrestling champion and political prisoner, executed for taking part in anti-regime protests

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, September 14, 2020—The Iranian regime proceeded with the hasty burial of the body of 27-year old Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari on the same day he was executed for taking part in anti-regime protests in 2018. The regime Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) harassed and threatened Navid’s father, mother and two brothers in Sangar Shir village of Shiraz before delivering the body and only allowing them to bury him at night with very limited attendance.

The regime had imposed many restrictions on the burial ceremony of the wrestling champion. The regime banned mobile phones at the burial to prevent videos from being posted on social networks. The regime’s agents had also prepared the grave in advance so that the victim would be buried in short time and prevent public gathering. Dozens of MOIS agents and suppressive forces were present at the funeral as fear for people’s protests. Many youths and neighborhood friends had announced that they will continue Navid’s path and that the regime must held accountable for this crime.

 

 

 

 

In his last audio message, recorded days before his execution, Navid had said:

“They always taught us to sacrifice for our loved ones. Since I was a child, I always wished to make my mother happy by world championships. But what can I do, it is not going to happen. The destiny overcame my efforts in wrestling and made my mother cry. But today I’m happy that destiny again has brought me here and I have learned real human values from you, my people. These are values that are much more important and valuable than standing on the championship pedestal. In my years of wrestling, I never faced an unfair opponent, because wrestling is a sport of fairness. But for two years me and my family are facing injustice, the most unfair of opponents in human history.”

Despite heavy restrictions and presence of security and intelligence agents, groups of youths from Shiraz visited the cemetery of Sangar village on the morrow of his Navid’s funeral and placed flowers and candles on his grave.

 

The youth of Shiraz pay homage to Navid Afkari, wrestling champion executed by Irans regime

The youth of Shiraz pay homage to Navid Afkari, wrestling champion executed by Iran's regime

 

Navid was arrested for taking part in popular protests in Shiraz in 2018 and was sentenced to death after being brutally tortured and forced to confess to crimes he had not committed.

Days before Navid’s execution, worldwide campaigns by the Iranian opposition, athletes, activists, and members of other communities called on the nation states to condemn the sentence and pressurize the regime to revoke it. But world leaders largely remained silent, concerned mainly about their political and economic interests regarding the Iranian regime.

And so, the regime proceeded with the execution, confident that world leaders will continue to give it a free pass for its crimes.

On September 12, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), stressed that “silence and inaction give a green light to and are construed as complicity in these crimes” and called on the international community to take urgent action to release the Afkari brothers, other detained protesters, and all political prisoners who are in danger of being executed.