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Iran arrests family of executed wrestling champion while cleaning grave

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Navid Afkari’s father and brother were arrested by Iranian intelligence while cleaning his grave. 

Just a few months after Navid Afkari was executed by the Iranian regime on fabricated charges, the Greco-Roman wrestling champion’s family have also been arrested.

According to reports emerging from Iran, Afkari’s father and brother were arrested by Iranian intelligence agents while “cleaning the area around Navid’s grave.” The two men were arrested on December 17 and have been taken to an undisclosed location.

“The family had not been allowed to visit the cemetery or care for the headstone and the area around the grave,” IranWire reported. “But the father and son had gone to the cemetery to tidy the unkempt area around the grave, which had not been prepared for the tombstone to be positioned.”

“The eyewitness said the arrest was carried out without any clashes or confrontations,” the report continued. “The father and his son slowly accompanied the officers and left the cemetery with them.”

It remains unclear why Iranian authorities arrested the two men. No official reason has been provided.

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.”

Afkari’s arrest and subsequent execution garnered worldwide condemnation from sports organizations, human rights entities, and even a handful of celebrities and notable figures. UFC President Dana White even called upon outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump to help save the Iranian wrestling champion.

“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.

Trump later took to Twitter and called on the Iranian regime to “spare this young man’s life, and not execute him.”

Despite the international outcry and formal complaints regarding false evidence presented and the use of torture to extract confessions, Afkari’s death sentence was upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court. He was executed on Saturday, Sep. 12.