1993 – 2020
Born in 1993, Navid Afkari was an Iranian champion wrestler who was executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran for participating in 2018’s anti-regime protests that had gripped the entire country. Navid’s case was shrouded in secrecy, a travesty of justice along with physical and psychological abuse in prison. Through torture, Navid was forced to confess that he had killed an undercover security guard during the protests, which has never been proven. In order to silence Navid’s family into submission, the regime even arrested Navid’s brothers, Vahid and Habib, both of whom were sentenced to 54 and 27 years, respectively.
Prior to his execution, Navid’s case garnered international attention with various organs and organisations asking the Islamic Republic not to execute him. These include the European Union, The international Olympic Committee, along with the Ultimate Fighting Championship President, Dana White. Even President Trump tweeted in support of Navid for his life to be spared.
Given the speed with which the Islamic Republic of Iran wanted to execute Navid, it was evident that it wanted to deter future protests in Iran by killing an innocent person like Navid. In an audio tape he sent from prison cell, Navid said:
“People! It is only logical that I will fight for my life; and as per the evidence, all clues are an affirmation to my innocence. All the evidence that we have collected and everything that I am saying right now, is only here to let you know that if I ever get executed, in the 21st century and with all the human right organizations, the UN or security council or the whatever else, an innocent human being, which had tried to the best of his might and fought, to have his voice heard, was hanged”
Despite the international outcry and Iranians’ unity against Navid’s execution, Navid was hurriedly hanged by the authorities on September 12, 2020