Nobel laureates condemn the execution of the Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari

Sep 13, 2020
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Eight Nobel Laureates from the United States and Canada condemned the brutal execution of the Iranian wrestling champion, Navid Afkari, by the Iranian regime. 


Joint Letter of Nobel laureates to the United Nations Secretary-General

September 12, 2020


His Excellency Antonio Guterres                                                                          

United Nations Secretary-General

The United Nations

New York, NY 10017


Mr. Secretary General,

We are appalled to hear of the horrific execution of Mr. Navid Afkari, the renowned wrestling champion in Iran. Despite a major global campaign, the Iranian regime hanged the 27-year-old Afkari, laying bare its inhuman nature and desperation in the face of looming uprisings.

Based on remarks by Mr. Afkari and human rights organizations, he was severely tortured to give false confession to murder but was sentenced to death for merely taking part in anti-government demonstrations in Iran.

Amnesty International reported on 2 September 2020 that in gruesome post-protest crackdown death sentences are issued based on torture-tainted “confessions”, hundreds subjected to grossly unfair trials on baseless national security charges and widespread torture including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, stress positions, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual violence, forced administration of chemical substances, and deprivation of medical care are applied against those detained in connection with the nationwide protests of November 2019.

We are gravely concerned that executions and torturing prisoners are continuing in Iran unabated. Years of impunity and appeasement have emboldened the ruling theocracy to perpetrate such heinous crimes. Silence and inaction will have the opposite effect.

We urge you and through you the United Nations Security Council and High Commissioner for Human Rights to take swift and practical action against the Iranian regime for the execution of Navid Afkari and tens of thousands of political prisoners.

Through your office, we ask the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ representative to visit Iranian prisons, meet with prisoners, especially political prisoners, and take steps to save the lives of those detained under inhuman conditions in Iranian jails.


  • Professor Barry Barish, Nobel Prize, Physics 2017, USA
  • Professor John Mather, Nobel Prize, Physics 2006, USA
  • Professor Roger D. Kornberg, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 2006, USA
  • Professor Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize, Medicine 1993, USA
  • Professor Elias Corey, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1990, USA
  • Professor John Polanyi, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1986, Canada
  • Professor Jerome Friedman, Nobel Prize, Physics 1986, USA
  • Professor Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1986, USA









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Last modified on Sunday, 13 September 2020 19:37

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