Second wrestler faces execution over ‘murder during mass brawl’ amid pleas for ‘criminal’ Iran regime to be banned from Olympics
The athlete is set to become the second wrestler in recent years to be executed following his arrest in 2015 and charge over a premeditated murder that was said to have been committed during a group brawl.
With the victim's family reportedly refusing to pardon Hosseini for the alleged crime, Hosseini's punishment is set to take place imminently.
Olympic champion wrestler Hamid Sourian, the vice president of the Iranian Wrestling Federation, has addressed the victim’s family in an attempt to prevent Hosseini’s execution.
“I beg Dr. Gholami Gheibi, who is one of the prominent doctors in Dezful, as the father of the victim, to please God,” he reportedly said.
“I hope that the honorable family of Gheibi will forgive this young man by doing this good deed.”
Hosseini is the second high-profile Iranian athlete to be given the death penalty after another champion wrestler, Navid Afkari, was publicly hanged in September.
Afkari was given two death sentences for allegedly stabbing a security guard and being involved in demonstrations against the country's regime in 2018, according to Inside the Games.
Afkari claimed he had been coerced into giving a false confession, and his death sparked widespread condemnation, with many international organizations calling on the International Olympic Committee to ban Iran from the Olympic movement in the wake of the scandal.
The United World Wrestling (UWW) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) both called for clemency but did not sanction Iran after the execution.
"While most athletes fear the further cancellation of sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes in Iran fear being murdered by the Islamic Republic," said Cameron Khansarinia, the National Union for Democracy in Iran policy director.
"After murdering champion wrestler Navid Afkari, the criminal regime occupying Iran intends to put fellow wrestler Mehdi Ali Hosseini to death.
"The International Olympic Committee has as yet refused to take any serious actions against the regime in Tehran for its bloody assault against athletes, despite a co-ordinated campaign by Iranian athletic champions.
"The regime should be banned from all Olympic and international sports activities until it stops murdering athletes and lifts its gender apartheid laws towards female athletes and fans.
"The disregard for the lives of Iranians shown by international organisations, including the IOC, has removed any and all of their legitimacy as humanitarian bodies."
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