US President Donald Trump Thursday called on Tehran not to execute a famous Iranian wrestler for his participation in anti-government protests.
Navid Afkari, 27, was arrested after being accused of taking part in anti-government protests that broke out across Iran in 2018.
He was given two death sentences, along with whippings, for protesting, Iran International reported.
#SaveNavidAfkari quickly became trending on social media as Iranian residents and expats called for a reversal to his sentence. Iran International said that Afkari and his brother, Vahid, were accused of killing an Iranian security agent.
Audio recordings from the two brothers allegedly have them denying the accusations and charges. Navid said he was in solitary confinement for weeks and was left “hanging for hours from the ceiling of the torture room,” Iran International said.
On Thursday, Trump criticized Iran for the death sentence. He said Navid’s “sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets.”
The US president also said he would “greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and execute him. Thank you.”
UN Watch, the only accredited NGO that monitors the organization, called for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to speak up.
🇮🇷 The Islamic Republic of Iran just confirmed the death sentence of wrestling champion Navid Afkari for participating in 2018 protests against the regime.— UN Watch (@UNWatch) August 29, 2020
🇮🇷 The Islamic Republic of Iran is an elected member of the U.N. Commission on Criminal Justice.
Why, @antonioguterres? pic.twitter.com/9pLD5ABFKQ