Iran Prepares to Execute Second Wrestler, Despite State Department Protest

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a trilateral meeting on Syria with his Russian and Turkish counterparts in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 14, 2019. (Photo by Sergei CHIRIKOV / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SERGEI CHIRIKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Department of State was outraged after the Islamic Republic of Iran hanged champion wrestler Navid Afkari in September. Now the Mullahs are planning to execute another wrestler, Mehdi Ali Hosseini.

“The Iranian regime must be held to account for their vile human rights abuses and their attempt to cling to power through execution,” State Department spokesman Ellie Cohanim told Fox News.

According to the Iranian government, Ali Hosseini, a 29-year-old wrestler from Andimeshk in the province of Khuzestan, was arrested in 2015 and charged with premeditated murder.

Iranian authorities tortured Afkari until he confessed to the crime they accused him of perpetrating. He was hanged for protesting against the ruling government.

“In September, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo imposed sanctions against Judge Seyyed Mahmoud Sadati, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz and Adelabad Prison, for their role in the alleged extrajudicial killing of Afkari,” Fox News added.

But neither the U.N. nor the European Union issued any sanctions against the Mullahs. Even the International Olympic Committee has refused to condemn Afkari’s death.

Rob Koehler, the director-general of the sports human rights advocacy organization Global Athlete, slammed the IOC for its lapse.

“The Iranian regime murdered Navid Afkari on 12 September 2020, and now they have another wrestler, Mehdi Ali Hosseini, scheduled to be executed. How much more evidence does the IOC and United World Wrestling need to suspend the Iranian National Olympic Committee?” Koehler said.

“Both of these organizations failed to intervene to save Navid’s life,” Koehler added. “Now, they must step up to save Mehdi’s life and protect all Iranian athletes. The fact that the IOC continues to neglect its duty of care for athletes by failing to take action against Iran is a gross abdication of duty. Their willingness to stand by while athletes are jailed, tortured, and executed can no longer be tolerated. The IOC and UWW must act now.”

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