The broadcast of a segment on Afkari on Iranian state television came just days after Trump and other U.S. officials spoke out on the case.
We join the world in outrage at the Iranian regime’s death sentence of Navid Afkari, who was tortured for making false confessions after participating in peaceful protests in 2018. The regime also tortured his two brothers and sentenced them to decades in prison. Let them go!
– Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) 3 septembre 2020
Trump weighed in on the same day, writing that “Afkar’s only act was an anti-government protest in the streets.”
“Hearing that Iran is seeking to execute a big and popular wrestling star Navid Afkarai, 27,” Trump wrote. “To the Iranian leadership, I would very much appreciate you sparing the life of this young man and not executing him. Thank you! “
… To the Iranian leadership, I would very much appreciate if you would spare the life of this young man and not execute him. Thank you! @UFC @DanaWhite @FoxNews https://t.co/NkJb4IsQpt
– Donald J.Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 septembre 2020
Afkari and his two brothers were indicted and sentenced by an Iranian court for the murder in 2018, with his brothers receiving long prison terms and Afkari receiving a death sentence. International human rights activists say the three men were targeted after appearing in a non-violent protest against the Iranian government.
UFC President Dana White, a political ally of Trump, also spoke about the case in a video released Friday.
“He’s one of us. He could be any of my fighters, ”White said in the video, adding that he called Trump to secure his support.
Iran please spare Afkarai from Navi #SaveNavid pic.twitter.com/HMeZA1yFup
– danawhite (@danawhite) September 4, 2020