Navid Afkari Was Hanged in 2018. His Killer Is About To Speak at UNGA

Written by
Shamsi Saadati

September 12 marked the second anniversary of Navid Afkari’s execution. Navid, a wrestling champion, was arrested after major Iran protests in 2018, falsely accused of murder, and hanged despite international outcry.

On Tuesday, Navid’s mother, his sister Elham, and his brother Habib were violently arrested by security forces while trying to visit Navid’s grave. Harassment and cracking down on the martyrs’ families haven’t been unprecedented in Iran, and the regime systematically deprives its victim’s family members, mainly slain political prisoners, of holding funerals and paying tribute to their loved ones.

Prior to his execution, Navid recorded an audio tape in prison, saying the regime has been “seeking neck for their noose.” In simple words, the fallen national champion described the Iranian regime’s killing spree, which began soon after the mullahs hijacked the 1979 revolution.

The mullahs’ inhumane actions and their rampage didn’t spare anyone. From ethnic and religious minorities to medical professionals, university students, academics, and sports champions, all have fallen victim to the regime’s strategy to “preserve” its rule at any cost.

All officials have been involved in state-organized crimes in a bid to save the regime vis-à-vis the explosive and vibrant society which has incessantly yearned for change.

But the regime’s current president, Ebrahim Raisi, who ordered Navid’s execution as then-Judiciary chief, truly represents the inhumane essence of Iran’s ruling theocracy. With his four-decade career in the judiciary, Raisi has sent tens of thousands to the gallows, including several sports champions.

In the summer of 1988, Raisi sat on Tehran’s “Death Commission,” sealing the fate of tens of thousands of Iranian political prisoners, mostly supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization (PMOI/MEK). Among the victims, there were some sports champions.


Fourouzan Abadi was a member of the women’s national volleyball team who perished during the 1988 genocide.

Mahshid Razaghi, a member of Iran’s national soccer team, along with his brother, was executed in 1988 in Tehran.

Dr. Farzin Nosraty, a wrestling champion, also met the firing squad by Raisi’s order in 1988.

Raisi’s dark human rights record was not a concealed fact, and his presidential candidacy and the consequent selection in 2021 faced domestic and international outrage. When he was selected as the regime’s president, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General, Agnes Callamard, quickly reacted.


That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance, and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”

In December 2020, seven UN experts also condemned the crisis of impunity in Iran, emphasizing that the international community’s inaction vis-à-vis the 1988 genocide has left a “devastating impact” on the victims’ family members and the “general human rights situation in Iran.”

This sense of impunity has emboldened an unscrupulous mass murderer like Raisi to prepare himself to deliver his hate speech at the UN General Assembly in the upcoming days. Navid’s mother was beaten and arrested once trying to visit her son’s grave, but Raisi enjoys impunity for his crimes in light of the Western governments’ inactions.

When Neda Aqa-Sultan was killed during the 2009 uprisings in Iran, late Senator John McCain said: “Neda died with open eyes; shame on us who lived with closed eyes.” Years later, Navid was hanged with a clear conscience, but how would the world democracies tolerate Raisi at the UN General Assembly?

Ebrahim Raisi does not represent the Iranian people. He has executed thousands of Iran’s brightest minds and eliminated numerous brave souls and talents like Navid Afkari. Letting Ebrahim Raisi speak at the UN General Assembly, who embodies enmity with the people of Iran brings nothing but shame and will be remembered throughout the nation’s history.

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