Iran: National Wrestling Champion Hanged!

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

A popular Iranian National Wrestling Champion, Navid Afkari, who was 27, has been hanged after being sentenced to death for the murder of a security guard during anti-Government demonstrations in 2018 against economic hardship and political oppression.

Afkari claimed that he was innocent of the crime and that his confession was obtained as a result of being tortured, which the Iranian Authorities have denied.

His lawyer, Hassan Younesi, has claimed that, contrary to Iranian media reports, there was no video evidence of the moment that the security guard was actually killed and that the video submitted in evidence against his client was taken an hour before the killing took place.

He also stated that Afkari was not allowed to see his family before being executed, contrary to Iranian Law.

His execution was carried out in the southern city of Shiraz on 13 September 2020, despite outcries from around the world, including ones from President Trump, who stated that Afkari’s only act was “an anti-Government demonstration on the streets”  and also from the International Olympic Committee, who stated that Afkari had been “unjustly targeted.”

Amnesty International, the Human Rights Organisation, has described the case as a “travesty of justice.”

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘’