clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

UFC’s Dana White calls on Trump to save Iranian wrestling champ sentenced to death

New, comments

The 27-year-old Navid Afkari received a death sentence for allegedly participating in a peaceful protest in 2018. 

Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has called upon U.S. President Donald Trump to help save an Iranian wrestling champion sentenced to death.

Wrestling champion Navid Afkari was sentenced to death for his alleged role killing a security officer in Shiraz, Fars Province during summer 2018 protests in the province. However, according to Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), there is evidence that he did not commit the alleged crime and that he was tortured during interrogation into giving a false “confession.”

“The Iranian authorities are increasingly using death sentences to terrorize the population into remaining silent and end any further participation in peaceful protests,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the CHRI.

Navid, 27, won several freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling medal in various national and international tournaments. His tragic twist of fate is what prompted White to intervene because “he’s one of us, could be any one of my fighters. The only thing I thought to do was to call the President and see if he could help.”

Trump has since taken to twitter to address Iran’s leadership, stating “To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him.”

White has also requested that Navid’s life be spared.

“I would just like to say that I too, respectfully and humbly, ask the government officials in Iran to please not execute this man and spare his life,” the UFC president said in a video clip.

Navid’s death sentence has been upheld by the Supreme Court, despite formal complaints regarding the false evidence presented and the use of torture to extract confessions.