The Iranian regime has sentenced another athlete to death. This time, Mohammad Javad Vafaei is the victim and is only guilty of a peaceful protests in November of 2019. Javad is only 26 and was sentenced for ‘spreading corruption on Earth.’ The news was reported by Irani journalist Masih Alinejad, who the regime coincidentally attempted to kidnap last year.
As mentioned by Benjamin Weinthal of The Jerusalem Post, “spreading corruption on Earth” is used frequently against those that resist the Islamic Republic and the Iranian regime Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
Sardar Pashaei is the former head coach for Iran’s Greco-Roman wrestling team and he also spoke out on Twitter calling for the release of Mohammad Javad Vafaei after the announcement of his execution saying, “The Islamic Republic wants to execute another athlete who took part in the street protests. #Mohammad_Javad_Vafaei is only 26 years old, an athlete and boxing coach. Please be the voice of this innocent athlete.”
Mohammad Javad Vafei was held in prison for two years and accused of supporting People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran, which advocates the overthrowing of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Those close to Vafei say this is not true.
Mohammad Javad Vafaei and the Protests in Iran
In 2019, Mohammad Javad Vafaei joined thousands of Iranian citizens took to the streets to protest the rising gas prices which had jumped to over 200% in some places. The citizens took to the streets and tore down anti-American billboards, posters of Khameni, and more. It’s estimated that over 1,500 were killed in said protests including 23 children.
Iran has a long history with the mistreatment of athletes. In September of 2020, the regime falsely executed Navid Afkari who protested the government in 2018 and 2019 and was tortured to confession into murder he did not commit. But, Afkari was not the first. The regime executed Majid Jamali Fashi in 2012 after accusing him of being a Israeli spy. In 1981, Hooshang Montazeralzohoor was executed for his anti-government stance.
But, it’s not only executions that Iran does to oppress their athletes. Reza Tabrizi was arrested in 2020 for questioning why mosques were open but not the gym. Saeid Mollaei was persecuted for not dropping out of an IJF tournament to avoid facing an Israeli opponent. Kimia Alizadeh, who won an Olympic medal for Iran in taekwondo, Alizadeh fled Iran after being under the thumb of the government as a puppet of the state.
There have been calls for the IOC to take action against Iran for the executions of so many of their athletes. IOC President Thomas Bach has yet to comment or take action against the Iranian government. Vafaei is sadly the latest in a long line of human rights violations that need to be punished.
Prayers are being sent to Mohammad Javad Vafaei and his family.
I’ve covered Iran for some time now. Please brush up on all the stories below to know just how bad the country can be. #UnitedForNavid
- Majid Jamali Fashi: Kickboxing, Wikileaks, and Nuclear Assassinations in Iran
- The Story of Saeid Mollaei: Iran’s Anti-Zionism in Sport
- Navid Afkari Sentenced to Two Death Sentences for Fake Crimes, White/Trump Step In
- Navid Afkari Executed This Morning By Iranian Government
- Reza Tabrizi Faces Death Penalty For Alleged Crimes in Iran
- Reza Tabrizi Instagram Account Seized By Iranian Government, Screenshots From His Now-Private Profile
- Iranian Wrestler Mehdi Ali Hosseini Sentenced To Death In Iran
- Mehdi Ali Hosseini Latest Athlete Executed By Iranian Government
- More Details Surrounding The Murder of Navid Afkari
- Iran Executed Boxing Coach, Ali Mutairi, Torture and Forced Confession Suspected
- Khaled Pirzadeh, Iranian Body Builder, Stitches Lips Shut In Protest of Imprisonment Mistreatment
- Sardar Pashaei and United For Navid Call For IOC Action Against Iran
- IJF Gives Iran 4 Year Ban Over Saeid Mollaei Case
- Vahid Afkari, brother of Navid, Threatened with Execution in Iran Prison
- Family of Navid Afkari Beaten And Arrested By Iranian Regime
- Saeid Mollaei, Persecuted Iranian, Medals Silver In Judo Olympics
- Shahin Naseri, whistleblower in Navid Afkari case, killed in prison
- Kimia Alizadeh: From Iranian Olympian to Refugee