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Iran: International outcry after assassination of Iranian wrestling champion

Open letter to International Olympic Committee

Wednesday 16 September 2020, by siawi3

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]


Association créée par Simone de Beauvoir
6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris,

Paris, September 13, 2020


Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee

Nenad Lalovic, President of the United World Wrestling

Object : Justice for Navid Afkari

Mr. Presidents,

Once again, the Islamic Republic of Iran reveals its contempt for the most elementary human rights of individuals and for international conventions.

Despite the mobilization of world-wide civil society in favor of Navid Afkari, Iranian wrestling champion, his execution by hanging took place on Saturday 12th September in the Adelabad prison in Chiraz.

Arrested on the 17th September 2018 for his participation in demonstrations in Chiraz, in a context of grave economic crisis, Navid Afkari was accused of having stabbed a man to death. He was condemned to a penalty of capital punishment by a revolutionary tribunal for “enmity to God” (mohareb); despite his denial, his confession having been obtained by torture.

The world of Sport, like the United Nations, have known in the past how to punish South Africa during the time of their racial apartheid, by excluding that country from the Olympic Games and from all international sports events for a period of 30 years. It is time to do the same to Iran which flouts the basic universal ethical principles inscribed in the Olympic Charter.

On the day following that of Navid Afkari’s execution, hundreds of thousands of young Iranians signed a petition on the social medias, asking for their country to be prohibited from participating in international tournaments by the FIFA and by the International Olympic Committee.

By this latest crime, the Islamic republic itself confirms having outlawed itself internationally. It is high time that the world of sport shows its solidarity with the Iranian people.

Annie Sugier Linda Weil-Curiel Mahanaz Shirali
President General Secretary Political Scientist at Sciences-Po