Iran sentences boxing champion to death over protests

Iran has sentenced to death a local boxing champion over his role in 2019 protests, activists say, expressing fear that another athlete risks execution after a wrestler was put to death.

The death sentence issued against Mohammad Javad Vafaei-Sani comes just over a year after the execution of wrestling champion Navid Afkari in September 2020, which prompted an international outcry and calls for Iran to be barred from sporting events.

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) NGO says that Vafaei-Sani, 26, was sentenced to death after being convicted of arson and destruction of government buildings.

Iranian protesters gather around a fire during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices in the capital Tehran, on November 16, 2019. (AFP/ File)

He had been detained in February 2020 and one of the charges against him was taking part in protests on November 2019 sparked by a sudden fuel price rise, it says.

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