From champion and activist to torture victim and executed: the tragic end of the fighter Navid Afkari | sports



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The confidential

They were tired and bored with the false promises of the Iranian government, so they decided, like thousands of compatriots, to take to the streets. However, the brothers Vahid, Habib y Navid Afkari They did not imagine how their protest of August 2, 2018 would end.

That day, as the trend had been for months, the Iranians came out en masse to demonstrate against the government’s economic policies and changes in the foreign policies of the Persian country.

Navid was the best known of his brothers, since he was a wrestling champion and his career predicted significant success. The three Afkari became active Protestants, as they considered the political and social scene in their country unfair.

The demonstrations were massive but, in some areas such as Shiraz, Qahderijan and Tuyserkan, they also turned violent. Attacks on police stations and army personnel became constant and the repercussions were increasing.

So far, according to slogan The confidential, 22 people have died in the framework of the protests, one of them being a security agent. His case, precisely, was linked to the Afkari brothers.

Crime

On August 2, 2018, a security agent guarding a water company was found dead. The cause of death was, according to the Iranian authorities, a double stabbing in the neck area.

The investigation quickly targeted a group of three men who arrived at the scene and who, taking advantage of the demonstrations, attacked the guard and left him wounded to his fate.

A month later, security agents arrived at the Afkari home and arrested the three brothers. They were accused of excesses and the death of the ill-fated guard. They and their family claimed innocence from day one.

The three men were sent to Chiraz prison in Fars province. There, according to the relatives of the detainees, they were victims of humiliating treatment and torture.

“They have not had the opportunity to defend themselves”pleaded the mother of the Afkari, whose heartbreaking testimony motivated sports and human rights organizations to follow the case closely.

The tension increased much more when, after months claiming innocence, Navid acknowledged being the author of the crime.

In a video that was even broadcast on state television, Afkari was seen assuring that he stabbed the guard twice, which coincided with the latest forensic report prepared by the Iranian judiciary.

For the family of the fighter, and even for international authorities, it was all about a confession under torture like the ones his other two brothers were subjected to: beatings, whipping and harassment were a constant for the Afkari.

Sentence

The sentence for Navid could not be more severe: death penalty. The former wrestling champion would be hanged for a crime that, according to his brothers, family and even himself at first, he did not commit.

“During my years of wrestling, I never faced an opponent who played dirty because it is a sport of honor. But for two years now, my family and I have been facing injustice against the most cowardly rival, ”Navid claimed from prison.

At the same time, international authorities raised their voices about the suspicious case of the Afkari.

“The EU opposes the death penalty in any case and circumstance, without exception. It is a cruel and inhuman sanction, which is not an element of containment and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity ”, she exclaimed. Peter Stano, spokesperson for the European Union.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), for its part, also joined the public pleas for clemency in favor of the Iranian fighter.

“We appeal this week to the Supreme Leader and the president of Iran in letters. We ask for clemency for Navid Afkari, “the IOC said in a statement.

“It is deeply regrettable that the appeals of athletes from around the world, and all the work of the IOC, with the Iranian Olympic Committee, the International Wrestling Federation and the Iranian Wrestling Federation, have not achieved their goal,” they lamented after their requests were not heard.

Execution

Despite the efforts of his family and sports entities, Navid’s fortunes did not change: He was executed on Saturday, September 12, after being sent to the gallows.

The grief among those who did everything possible to prevent his death was not secret and, as when they asked for the abolition of his sentence, social networks were taken.

Even the president of the United States, Donald Trump, took advantage of the instance to criticize the Iranian authorities.

“What about this boy was an anti-government demonstration in the streets, he was only protesting against the worsening of the economic situation and inflation,” claimed the president.

Meanwhile, the Afkari family, who also regret the sentences of 54 and 27 years in prison for the other two brothers, took one of the last messages that Navid dedicated to them to honor their name.

“But now I am happy, because I have learned the true aspirations of humanity thanks to you extraordinary people. Aspirations that are much greater than the international wrestling championships ”.

DW


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