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Iran Follows Through, Executes Wrestling Champ
Demonstrators protest the execution of wrestler Navid Afkari, whose likeness is shown on a placard, outside Iran’s embassy in Berlin on September 12. (Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Iran Follows Through, Executes Wrestling Champ

Iranian authorities have hanged Navid Afkari, a national wrestling champion accused of having killed a water-company watchman in southern Iran during anti-government unrest in early 2018. Afkari was shown on state television re-enacting the crime, which took place at a construction site where he and two of his brothers were employed – although family members say he told them he had been tortured into making a confession. The brothers, also accused of involvement, were given lengthy prison sentences. Saturday’s execution followed an international outcry against the death sentence, with US President Donald Trump and International Olympic Committee head Thomas Back having sent personal appeals for mercy. “[L]egal procedures were carried out at the insistence of the parents and the family of the victim,” state media quoted the head of the Fars provincial justice authority as saying after the execution. A worldwide union of athletes called for Iran’s expulsion from global sporting bodies if the sentence was carried out.

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