German Ambassador summoned by Iran over Wrestler’s execution tweet

Iran’s foreign ministry on Monday summoned Germany’s ambassador, Hans-Udo Muzel, to “strongly protest ” against comments made on social media condemning the execution of professional wrestler Navid Afkari.

Navid Afkari had been arrested and charged with murder in 2018. The young athlete claimed his confession was obtained under torture. Tehran executed the 27-year-old on Saturday, prompting shock and condemnation.

“Foreign embassies should not become the mouthpiece for Iranian opposition groups and should at the very least adhere to diplomatic norms,” Ali Bagheri, from the justice department’s international affairs office, said earlier on Monday.”Pressure from abroad” would undermine neither the Iranian justice system nor the Islamic laws which govern the country, he said.

The German Embassy condemned Afkari’s killing in a message posted on its Twitter account yesterday.

“We were deeply shocked by the execution of Navid Afkari,” the statement read.

“It is not acceptable that basic legal rights be ignored in order to silence opposing voices.”Afkari was executed on Saturday at Adel-Abad prison in the Iranian city of Shirza. He was buried on Saturday amid tight security. His parents were not allowed to attend the funeral.Afkari’s mother said that she had “checked the judiciary website every day to check if her son is alive and today he’s not,” according to Iranian journalist Masih Alinejan. “She said I cannot even say the word execution. He was murdered.”

Iranian authorities said he had killed a security worker in August 2018 during anti-government protests amid high levels of inflation, unemployment and inequality.

Tehran said he had confessed, but the wrestler, his family, and human rights organizations said the confession was obtained through torture.

They said he was targeted because he was a high-profile athlete who had dared to criticize the Iranian government.

His lawyer said there was no proof of his guilt.

Kevin Ifedayo

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