Iran executes wrestler who Trump, others urged country to spare

Iran has reportedly executed a wrestler accused of murder after President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE asked authorities to spare him from the death penalty, according to the country’s state TV.

“The retaliation sentence against Navid Afkari, the killer of Hassan Torkaman, was carried out this morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz,” Kazem Mousavi, the chief justice of Fars province, was quoted as saying, according to The Associated Press.

Afkari, 27, and his two brothers had been convicted of stabbing a water supply company employee during protests in 2018 against Iran’s Shiite theocracy. His brothers received lengthy prison sentences, while Afkari received the death penalty.


International human rights activists say the three were targeted after appearing at a nonviolent protest against Iran's government. 

Iranian state TV last weekend aired a recorded confession from the wrestler, in which Afkari admitted to the murder. 

But U.S. officials and international rights groups have maintained that his confession was coerced, like many suspected coerced confessions aired over the last few years in the Islamic Republic, the AP reported.

Trump earlier this month tweeted about the case, writing that Afkar's "sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets."

The president made a plea to Iranian officials, writing, "To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him. Thank you!"


UFC President Dana White, a political ally of Trump, also spoke out about the case. 

"He’s one of us. He could be any of my fighters," White said in the video last week.