The Iranian Justice Department on Monday warned European embassies in Tehran against interfering in the case of Navid Afkari, a professional wrestler whose execution at the weekend prompted shock internationally.
“Foreign embassies should not become the mouthpiece for Iranian opposition groups and should at the very least adhere to diplomatic norms,’’ Ali Bagheri, deputy head of the department’s office for international affairs, said.
According to him, pressure from abroad would undermine neither the Iranian justice system nor the Islamic laws that govern the country.
The top official did not mention Afkari by name or which embassies he was referring to.
The 27-year-old was executed on Saturday at Adel-Abad prison in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz.
According to Iranian legal authorities, Afkari had killed a security officer during a demonstration there in 2018.
Iran said he had confessed, but the athlete, his family, and human rights organizations said the confession was obtained through torture.
Afkari was buried on Sunday under strict security measures and his family were not allowed to attend the funeral.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had planned to visit Europe this week, but the trip was canceled, ostensibly due to logistical issues linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, some speculators have suggested that he was uninvited or had wanted to avoid uncomfortable questioning on the Afkari case.
The German Foreign Office said in a statement that it was “appalled” that Afkari’s execution had gone ahead and called on Iran to stop executing detained protesters.
Global Athlete called on athlete solidarity to demand that the International Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling immediately implement sanctions that expel Iran from world sport for this heinous execution.
Read the IOC statement and IOC Athletes’ Commission statement on the execution of Navid Afkari: