US slaps sanctions on Iranians over execution of wrestler

Categories: Iran


The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on an Iranian judge who sentenced a wrestler to death over his role in protests — an execution that triggered international outrage.

Navid Afkari, 27, who had won national competitions, was hanged earlier this month after being convicted of murder during demonstrations two years ago in the southern city of Shiraz. The execution was preceded by worldwide appeals for clemency, including from President Donald Trump.

The United States said it was taking action against Judge Seyyed Mahmoud Sadati, voicing alarm over allegations that Afkari was tortured in custody to force a confession.

“His killing was an unconscionable act,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “Navid’s death must not be in vain.”

“The United States calls upon all nations to promote accountability for this regime by imposing sanctions like the ones announced today,” he added.

The State Department also imposed sanctions on Judge Mohammad Soltani over sentences handed to members of the Baha’i faith, which faces wide restrictions in Iran.

“The actions taken today by the United States expose Iran’s Revolutionary courts and their judges for what they really are: tools designed to enforce the Iranian regime’s brutal ideology and suppress dissent,” Pompeo said.

Under the sanctions, the United States will freeze any assets on its territory linked to the two judges, as well as three prisons where Pompeo said human rights abuses were rampant.

Read More: Times of Israel