Selin ATAY-TDO- Iran has reacted to European Union (EU) countries criticizing the execution of wrestler champion Navid Afkari who was convicted of stabbing to death a security guard during the anti-government protests of 2018.
In a statement broadcast on state television, the Vice President of Iran's Judiciary accused European Union (EU) countries and their embassies in Tehran of meddling in Iran's internal affairs. Condemning EU countries ' statements on Afkari, Iran accused them of "not obeying diplomatic courtesy and raising their voices, like the opposition group."
Navid Afkari was arrested in September 2018 and was given death sentence last month. He was accused of fatally stabbing a security agent in Shiraz during the anti-government protest. Earlier in September, Iran broadcast the wrestler’s televised confession. However, those who opposed Afkari's execution claimed that the confessions were taken under torture.
After the Iranian athlete was sentenced to death, the international sports community and human rights organizations called on Iran to stop the execution.
Amid growing calls, US President Donald Trump last week asked Iranian authorities to not carry out the execution. He tweeted, “To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him. Thank you!”, he said.
Despite all objections, Afkari, 27, was executed on September 12, 2020 by hanging in the city of Shiraz.
Following his execution, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement that it was “shocked” by the news and mentioned that the IOC president had made personal appeals to the Supreme Leader and President of Iran to ask for mercy for Afkari.
EU High Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Policy Josep Borrell reported that the EU most strongly condemned the execution in Iran, and the embassies of Germany and France in Tehran also condemned Efkari's execution.