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Navid Afkari
Iran News

Athletes Executed During Ebrahim Raisi’s Judicial Tenure

During the judicial responsibilities of Ebrahim Raisi in the 1980s and 2000s, several prominent Iranian athletes were executed.

The most controversial execution case during Raisi’s tenure as head of the judiciary was the hanging of Navid Afkari in Shiraz prison, which garnered global attention and elicited reactions from numerous renowned athletes worldwide.

Navid Afkari

Afkari, a wrestler who had made it to the national team camp as a teenager, was executed in September 2020. He was charged with the murder of a security officer during the Shiraz protests, in a trial that legal experts criticized heavily.

His brothers, Vahid and Habib, also suffered beatings and prolonged solitary confinement. They reported severe torture to extract confessions during their detention.

Navid Afkari’s mother stated in a video message that her sons were tortured to testify against each other, and one of them attempted suicide under physical and mental pressure in prison. Navid was not even allowed a final farewell with his family.

Despite widespread protests and domestic and international appeals before and after Navid Afkari’s execution, Ebrahim Raisi, then head of the judiciary, completely disregarded these pleas.

After Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash on May 19, Saeed Afkari, Navid’s brother, commented, “I haven’t seen my mother this happy in years.” He posted on X, “After Navid’s murder, Raisi’s representatives came to Adelabad. They told Vahid, ‘Either come on TV and say I am guilty, or we will execute Habib first in front of you, then you.’”

Three decades before his presidency over the judiciary, Raisi had executed other prominent athletes.

In the summer of 1988, as the Deputy Prosecutor General of Tehran, he was a member of Ruhollah Khomeini’s four-member committee, known as the Death Committee, which executed 30,000 political prisoners without judicial process.

Most of these prisoners were members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Forouzan Abdi, captain of the women’s national volleyball team, was sentenced to five years in prison in 1981 but was not released after her sentence ended and was hanged in Evin prison in August 1988.

Forouzan Abdi, captain of the women's national volleyball team
Forouzan Abdi, captain of the women’s national volleyball team

Mahshid (Hossein) Razaghi, a member of the Homa football team, was executed in Gohardasht prison in August 1988. The victims of the 1988 mass executions were buried in mass unmarked graves and their families were not informed of the place where their loved ones were interred.

Mahshid (Hossein) Razaghi, a member of the Homa football team
Mahshid (Hossein) Razaghi, a member of the Homa football team

Zain al-Abidin Kazemi, a well-known wrestler from Langaroud, was another prominent athlete killed in September 1988 by the Death Committee, which included Ebrahim Raisi as a member.

Habib Khabiri, the captain of Iran's national team
Habib Khabiri, the captain of Iran’s national team

Habib Khabiri was the captain of Iran’s national team and a player for the Homa Football Club of Tehran. He had 18 international caps to his name. In 1980, he was removed from the national team due to his membership in the Mojahedin organization.

In 1983, he was arrested by the Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) and in June 1984, at the age of 29, he was executed by firing squad. At the time of Khabiri’s execution, Ebrahim Raisi was the prosecutor of Karaj.

The post Athletes Executed During Ebrahim Raisi’s Judicial Tenure appeared first on Iran Focus.