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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran executes young wrestler despite global outcry

The sentence against Navid Afkari was carried out on Saturday morning [Twitter]

Date of publication: 12 September, 2020

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The sentence against Navid Afkari was carried out on Saturday morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz.
Iran has executed a wrestler for allegedly murdering a man despite international outcry to stop the controversial execution, the country's state TV reported on Saturday.

The sentence against Navid Afkari was carried out on Saturday morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, according to a statement by the country's state TV.

Afkari's case had drawn the attention of a social media campaign that portrayed him and his brothers as victims targeted over participating in protests against Iran’s Shiite theocracy in 2018.

Authorities accused Afkari of stabbing a water supply company employee in the southern city of Shiraz amid the unrest.

The case revived a demand inside the country to stop carrying out the death penalty.

It also sparked international outrage. Earlier this month, the US President Donald Trump tweeted out his own concern about Afkari’s case.

"To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him," Trump wrote last week. "Thank you!"

Iran responded to Trump's tweet with a nearly 11-minute state TV package on Afkari.

It included the weeping parents of the slain water company employee, Hassan Torkaman.  

The package included footage of Afkari on the back of a motorbike, saying he had stabbed Torkaman in the back, without explaining why he allegedly carried out the assault.

The state TV segment showed blurred police documents and described the killing as a "personal dispute", without elaborating.

It said Afkari's cellphone had been in the area and it showed surveillance footage of him walking down a street, talking on his phone.

The segment resembled hundreds of other suspected coerced confessions aired over the last decade in the Islamic Republic.

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