Young Iranian footballer at risk of being executed

Amir Nasr-Azadani, photo via IranWire.

A young Iranian footballer is at risk of being executed amidst the country’s uprising against its regime. The young man, 26 year old Amir Nasr-Azadani, is a former member of three different teams in Iran.

The Iranian state news broadcaster IRIB released a video on November 20 of the forced confessions of three people accused of being involved in the murders of three members of Iran’s forces. One authority killed was part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Another two were members of the Basij, a volunteer militia group affiliated with the IRGC.

IRIB did not name the defendants, but after the videos were published, their names were published on social media. One of the defendants was Nasr-Azadani.

However, sources for IranWire, a pro-opposition outlet, said that Nasr-Azadani was never in the area where the authorities were killed. He was only present in some protests, the outlet said. Iranwire reported on Sunday that the Iranian regime’s judicial system is planning to hang Nasr-Azadani for the crime of moharebeh, or “waging war against god.”

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Nasr-Azadani’s relatives say they have been threatened by security forces. They also say their lawyer has instructed them to remain quiet. Meanwhile, the family’s efforts to choose a lawyer for Nasr-Azadani were unsuccessful. A source said…

“After the court was convened and when his family was informed of the charges against him, the lawyer appointed by the judicial system informed them that the verdict was only to cause fear, but if the family members reacted and spoke to foreign media, the death sentence would become final.”

This news comes after Iran yesterday carried out its second execution related to the mass nationwide protest movement that began in September. The young man executed was 23 year old Majidreza Rahnavard. Rahnavard was accused of killing two Basij members. Just days before that, Iran executed another 23 year old man, Mohsen Shekari. Shekari was accused of injuring a security guard with a knife in Tehran.

Iran’s latest uprising began after the country’s so-called “morality police” brutally killed a young girl, Mahsa Amini, for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. Since then, rage has spread like wildfire in a country ruled by a theocratic dictatorship.

Last month, Iranian forces killed a man for celebrating the national football team’s elimination from the World Cup. Iran also arrested a Kurdish football player, Voria Ghafouri, who was later released.

Like many young Iranians, Nasr-Azadani could be killed for daring to stand up to his country’s brutal regime.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.