Despite international outcry, Iranian authorities had announced executing the national wrestling champion Navid Afkari yesterday, igniting even more anger worldwide.
We condemn in the strongest terms the unlawful execution of #NavidAfkari, which demonstrates the Iranian judiciary’s complete disregard for law, justice and international standards of due process. #نوید_افکاری https://t.co/11L2FpsGLe— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) September 12, 2020
Turning deaf ears to months-long campaigns by Iranian activists and sports figures calling on the Iranian government to stop any plans to actually carry out the death penalty against the 27-years old Iranian wrestler, the Iranian official TV aired what they said was Afkari's confessions of killing an individual using a knife during anti-regime protests in August 2018, only days before announcing his death and handing his body back to his family.
According to international organizations, Afkari's confessions were forced on him and were recorded so the Iranian government justifies its death penalty.
🇮🇷 The Islamic Republic of Iran just confirmed the death sentence of wrestling champion Navid Afkari for participating in 2018 protests against the regime.— UN Watch (@UNWatch) August 29, 2020
🇮🇷 The Islamic Republic of Iran is an elected member of the U.N. Commission on Criminal Justice.
Why, @antonioguterres? pic.twitter.com/9pLD5ABFKQ
Hearing that Iran is looking to execute a great and popular wrestling star, 27-year-old Navid Afkarai, whose sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets. They were protesting the “country’s worsening economic situation and inflation”...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2020
Moreover, the televised confession followed a tweet by the US President Donald Trump, in which he called on Iran to reconsider the death penalty against the champion, which inspired US media outlets to argue that the Iranian decision to execute Navid Afkari was a response to Trump's calls.
The link between Trump's tweet in defense of the medal-winning champion last week and his execution yesterday angered many Iranian activists; who said that "no statement by anyone in the world would have stopped the Iranian government from getting rid of dissents and people demanding human rights in the country."
Rumors are surfacing already that if Trump hadn't tweeted about #NavidAfkari, he'd not have been killed. It's another way of saying that when Trump doesn't tweet, #Iran doesn't execute activists. Moral of the story: Silence has never saved anyone from a tyrant. #BanIRSports4Navid— Roya Hakakian (@RoyaTheWriter) September 13, 2020
Today is a difficult day for most Iranians. We find hope in all those who spoke up to save #NavidAfkari.— Nazanin Boniadi (@NazaninBoniadi) September 12, 2020
To those who still remain silent: how many innocent lives must be lost before you condemn the Islamic Republic for their egregious human rights abuses?
Some also called on international media to stop making the event about Trump's tweet and actually shed light on the human rights violations committed by Iran against its population instead.
Just wow!— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) September 12, 2020
You could have said #NavidAfkari was tortured.
You could have said he didn't get a fair trial.
You could have said there was no clear evidence against him.
But no, you chose to take a hit on Trump!
Indeed, MSM is the enemy of the people.
This is disgusting. pic.twitter.com/haXShRibnh
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