The International Olympic Committee is “devastated” after Iran executed wrestler Navid Afkari. The IOC released a statement on Afkari’s execution, saying it is “deeply saddened” about Afkari’s death.
Afkari, 27, was sentenced to death after he was accused of murdering a security guard during anti-government protests in 2018. In a leaked recording, Afkari said he was tortured into making a confession, according to BBC.com Afkari’s mother says Afkari and his brothers were forced to testify against each other. Iranian officials have denied allegations of torture.
Despite cries to stay the execution, including one from President Donald Trump, Afkari was executed by hanging in Shiraz.
IOC ‘devastated’ over Navid Afkari’s death
While Afkari did not wrestle in the Olympics, IOC president Thomas Bach appealed to Iran asking for mercy for Afkari. In a statement Saturday, the IOC called Afkari’s execution “deeply upsetting.”
The execution of wrestler Navid Afkari in Iran is very sad news. The IOC is shocked by this announcement today. In letters, Thomas Bach, the IOC President, had made direct personal appeals to the Supreme Leader and to the President of Iran this week and asked for mercy for Navid Afkari, while respecting the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is deeply upsetting that the pleas of athletes from around the world and all the behind-the-scenes work of the IOC, together with the NOC of Iran, United World Wrestling and the National Iranian Wrestling Federation, did not achieve our goal. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Navid Afkari.
As Afkari’s case gained attention, some called for the IOC to ban Iran from the Olympics if Afkari was executed. The IOC did not take that step Saturday, though could institute a ban in the coming weeks.
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