Executed Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari still offers 'message of freedom,' says mother

8 months ago 157
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(CNN)The parent of Navid Afkari, the wrestling prima executed by the Iranian government, says her household inactive has "no peace" implicit a twelvemonth since her son's death.

In a uncommon interrogation with CNN Sport's Don Riddell, Bahieh Namjoo says she is alert of the dangers that travel with speaking retired against the Iranian government, but insists she is determined to support ​her son's bequest and assistance her 2 different sons get retired of prison.​

"My information [for speaking out] is for my 2 sons who person present been imprisoned for a twelvemonth successful Adel Abad prison," she says via video telephone from Iran, connected the eve of the archetypal day of Navid's death.

    "The concern has taken power of our lives. We are emotionally and mentally drained. We person nary peace. None of us.

      "My daughter, myself, my children [...] my different 2 children. We person nary peace. I mean our days and nights person turned into each acheronian nights. You understand? We are not surviving astatine all."

      ​On September 12, 2020, Navid Afkari was hanged for a transgression that his family, friends and quality rights activists accidental helium didn't commit.

      According to the authoritative mentation of events, helium killed Hassan Torkman, a h2o institution information employee, during a protestation successful Shiraz connected August 2, 2018​. Those adjacent to him admit that helium attended the protest, saying helium was troubled by favoritism against women and the poor.

      But his supporters accidental that his proceedings was devoid of immoderate compelling grounds ​against him.​

      ​Afkari and his member Vahid were arrested a period and a fractional later, connected September 17 according to the UN, and different brother, Habib, was rounded up aboriginal that year.

      Both of Afkari's brothers were ​convicted of charges successful narration to events astatine protests, and Vahid was deemed to person been "accessory to murder," according to Amnesty.

      Navid was condemned to decease portion Vahid and Habib received situation sentences of much than 33 and 15 years respectively. All were to beryllium punished with 74 lashes each, according to Amnesty.

      Navid's parent  (left) stands by Navid's sedate  successful  March 2021 successful  Shiraz, Iran.

      Initially, ​Afkari confessed to the crime, but successful court, helium retracted those words, arguing that helium had been tortured during his interrogation and that a mendacious confession had been forced retired of him.

      Leaked audio clips from the proceedings past twelvemonth revealed ​Afkari defiantly challenging the justice ​-- inspiring different athletes to talk retired against the ​Iranian government. An enactment group, United for Navid, present works connected keeping his dependable alive.

      Iranian athletes accidental they often fearfulness for their lives erstwhile speaking retired astir societal and governmental issues, portion sportswomen are sometimes stopped from participating owed to fundamentalists limiting women's freedoms and imposing ​an mentation of Islamic instrumentality which successful crook ​restricts their quality to compete.

      In Iran, governmental activists and their families are routinely intimidated, arrested, and tin adjacent beryllium executed. Afkari was 1 of astatine slightest 267 radical who were executed successful Iran successful 2020.

      The Iranian authorities has said repeatedly that ​Afkari was not tortured and that his confession wasn't forced. In June, CNN asked the authorities if helium received a just proceedings but has inactive not received a response.

      Namjoo says the enactment from different athletes has been a "good feeling" and says it's arsenic though Navid has been "brought backmost to life" arsenic a result.

      "Navid's sanction is the connection of freedom," Namjoo adds. "Anyone who comes to Navid's sedate says the aforesaid thing: 'Navid means freedom.'

      "Many radical travel to wage their respects [to Navid] and accidental these things to us: 'Navid was calved 1 clip successful your home, but helium was calved again galore times implicit successful the hearts of Iranians each implicit the world.'"

      Navid Afkari (bottom left), sitting with his member  Vahid (top left), member  Saeid (bottom center), member  Habib (bottom right), begetter  (top center) and parent  (top right).

      But aft her youngest lad was executed and her 2 different sons imprisoned successful what she says is solitary confinement, Namjoo wants action.

      Many quality rights groups person advocated for amended attraction of Iranians, but Namjoo says written statements unsocial won't prevention her family.

      "So galore quality rights authorities and organizations gave truthful galore statements saying that my kids person not committed immoderate crimes and thing happened, it had nary effect," she says.

      "They killed my baby, innocent, they took his younker and killed him without telling america anything, without america adjacent knowing anything.

      "Is determination anyone who tin travel to my assistance and assistance me? Is determination anyone who volition perceive my voice? Will anyone prevention my children?

        "My lad Habib's newlywed woman of 3 years is waiting for him -- is determination anyone retired determination who tin prevention him?

        "Is determination anyone successful this satellite who volition perceive my voice? Or is this each conscionable talk?"

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