The Iranian regime's lethal assaults on decorated Iranian athletes continued unabated, with the execution of a second champion wrestler on Monday.The Jerusalem Post reported two weeks ago that the execution of wrestler Mehdi Ali Hosseini was imminent. He is from Andimeshk in the province of Khuzestan, and was arrested in 2015 and charged with pre-meditated murder, supposedly committed during a group fight.It is unclear whether the Islamic Republic authorities forced Hosseini to confess to a crime he did not commit. Mariam Memarsadeghi, an Iranian-American expert on human rights, told the Post that the "[Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei and his henchmen want to numb everyone to their repression. By executing more and more in spite of global outrage, they hope to show the Iranian people and the Free World that they are powerless.”She added that "But it's the regime that lacks real power. Force alone is its only means to survive but not for long; the Iranian people are more than ever refusing any prospect but a nonviolent overthrowing [of the regime].”Sardar Pashaei, the renowned Greco-Roman Iranian wrestler world champion, tweeted in Persian: “Mehdi Ali Hosseini, a young wrestler from Andimeshk, was executed. Here is Iran, Land of death, rope and bullets ...”Pashaei has urged the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to ban Iran’s regime from sports competition due to the regime’s human rights violations.Masih Alinejad, who launched the campaign United for Navid to address the Iranian regime's execution of wrestler Navid Afkari, tweeted:"The Islamic Republic in #Iran has executed a second wrestler, #MehdiAli_Hosseini. We are fighting against execution in Iran, and we need international community to hold the regime in Iran accountable. #StopExecutionsInIran"
Adelle Nazarian, Senior Media Fellow at the Gold Institute for International Strategy, told the Post that “The insecurity of the Iranian Regime is on full display with the unjust execution of Mehdi Ali Hosseini today. Hosseini did not receive access to a fair trial, and it remains unclear whether he was coerced or tortured into confessing to a crime he did not commit."She added that "What we do know is the Iranian regime is feeling more emboldened today than it has over the last four years and the timing of their execution of Mehdi Ali Hosseini, if nothing more, was to send a message to the regime’s detractors within the Islamic Republic that any one of them could be next.” Mansoureh Mills, an Iran researcher for Amnesty International, told the Post that "We understand that Mehdi Ali Hosseini had been convicted of murder but have no other information about his case, including his trial. However, Amnesty International has documented the systematic violation of fair trial rights of defendants in Iran. Executions are often carried out after unfair trials. Some detainees are denied access to a lawyer at the investigation stage and forced 'confessions' obtained under torture and other ill-treatment without a lawyer present are consistently used as evidence by courts to issue convictions." She added that "Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. The death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The organization renews its call on the Iranian authorities to establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty."
The Islamic Republic in #Iran has executed a second wrestler, #MehdiAli_Hosseini .We are fighting against execution in Iran and we need international community to hold the regime in Iran accountable.#StopExecutionsInIran pic.twitter.com/YxoxKYVJvg— Masih Alinejad ️ (@AlinejadMasih) January 25, 2021
Both the IOC and United World Wrestling have faced intense criticism for failing to sanction Iran’s regime for its scorched earth policy against athletes who dissent from the ideology of the regime. In response to Post press queries, the IOC and the UWW sent identical statements.
"The case of Mehdi Ali Hosseini, a regional wrestler from Iran, is tragic. We were informed that this was a criminal case only, with no sports-related background. Mr Hosseini was convicted of having been involved in a robbery that ended with the death of a final-year medical student who was living in the house that Mr Hosseini and his accomplice had entered. Mr Hosseini was arrested in 2015. Based on this information, this tragic case is outside the UWW's or the IOC's remit, " Gordon Templeman, the UWW spokesman, wrote by email.Rob Koehler, director-general of Global Athlete, an international sports advocacy organization for Olympic athletes, told the Post: "Time and time again the IOC and UWW have had an opportunity to send a clear message by suspending Iran from international sport. Instead, too many excuses have been given why they can not act. One would think organizations like the IOC and the UWW that promote peace through sport would take proactive steps to find ways to intervene to protect the lives and safety of Iranian athletes. There is nothing peaceful about the execution of Navid and Mehdi. This is simply tragic."Iran’s rulers imposed an extrajudicial killing on the champion Greco-Roman wrestler Navid Afkari in September. Afkari was imprisoned for participating in a 2018 demonstration against regime economic and political corruption.According to Afkari, human rights organizations and Western governments, Iran’s regime forced Afkari to commit to the murder of a security guard at the demonstration. Prison officials brutally tortured Afkari, according to the wrestler and an eyewitness.The US government sanctioned Iranian regime judicial and prison officials for the alleged murder of Afkari. The EU, the IOC, and the UWW opted not to sanction’s Iran’s regime. Critics argue that the EU, IOC and UWW have emboldened Iran’s regime to carry out more targeted killings of Iranian athletes.Asre Jonoob, a news outlet believed to be controlled by the Iranian regime in Iran, reported Monday on the execution of Mehdi Ali Hosseini.This is a developing story.