Wrestling Accused of killing man in a brawl
Mehdi Ali Hosseini, a 29-year-old Iranian wrestler, has been accused of the death of another young man in a brawl in 2015. As such, the victim’s family have decided that he should be executed under Talion Law.
This is the same fat that was suffered by another Iranian wrestler, Navid Afkari, who was hanged in September after serving two death sentences, one for allegedly stabbing someone to death in 2018 during a demonstration against the regime and another “for offences against God”.
Afkari denied the charges and his family have maintained that his confession, which was recorded and broadcasted by the regime, was done under torture.
The case of Mehdi Ali Hosseini has similarities. The victim’s family have not agreed to the pardon, which was requested from them by, among others, London 2012 Greek-Roman Olympic champion Hamid Surian, current vice president of the Iranian Fighting Federation.
Surian and former world champions such as Saeid Abdoli and Mohammad Talaei have also mediated in favour of Hosseini. The wrestler, who was sentenced to death, continued to play his sport after his arrest and won a national championship for prisoners.
Organisations such as the National Union for Democracy in Iran, or the sports platform Global Athlete are calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Wrestling Union (UWW) to impose sanctions on the Iranian Olympic Committee that would prevent the country from competing internationally.