Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, September 13, 2021—On September 12, 2020, the Iranian regime executed 27-year-old wrestling champion Navid Afkari for taking part in anti-regime protests in Fars province in 2018.
On the first anniversary of Navid’s execution, as the Afkari family were preparing to honor his memory, they were subjected to persecution by the regime. Elham and Saeed, two of Navid’s siblings, were stopped by security forces as they were heading to his grave in his native village of Sangar, Fars province. The two were beaten by security forces and Saeed was arrested and taken away.
A few days before the incident, Saeed had posted on his Twitter account, “As we approach the anniversary of the death of my brother, security institutions have been pressuring our family and acquaintances to prevent us [from holding a ceremony]. We have been enduring your savage oppression for three years, and while we still mourn, we will stand against you.”
The ceremony was scheduled for Monday.
Navid Afkari was executed despite widespread calls by human rights organizations, sports federations, and athletes around the world to revoke his death sentence. Before his execution, the regime subjected him to severe tortures and forced him to confess to crimes he did not commit, which it recorded and later broadcasted on state-run television to vilify him.
Two of his brothers, Habib and Vahid, who were also arrested with Navid, are incarcerated in the Adel Abad prison of Shiraz have been held in solitary confinement since Navid’s execution.
On the anniversary of Navid’s execution, Behiyeh Namjoo, his mother, issued a statement in which she wrote, “People of the world, I reach out to you. A year ago, my brave son… died on the execution pedestal of the Islamic Republic, alone and defenseless… Since that day, it’s been a year that Habib and Vahid are in solitary confinement. They’ve told Habib that they will release him if he speaks out against his brother.”
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, called on the people of Iran to commemorate Navid Afkari. Madam Rajavi also called on the United Nations Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn the regime’s persecution of Navid’s family.
Despite the regime’s severe security measures, the people of Iran celebrated the wrestling champion’s life on the anniversary of his execution. Videos and images posted on social media show people in different Iranian cities commemorating Navid Afkari.
The regime has resorted to propaganda to create an impression of a criminal from Navid Afkari. But the people of Iran continue to celebrate him as a freedom fighter and a champion.
His memory is especially revered among the families of protesters murdered by the regime’s security forces during the November 2019 protests.