Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari Sangari receives 'two death sentences'

A letter from Navid Afkari said the Iranian authorities forced him to confess to manufactured charges

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison June 13, 2006. Iranian police detained 70 people at a demonstration in favour of women's rights, the judiciary said on Tuesday, adding it was ready to review reports that the police had beaten some demonstrators.  REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN)

A competition-winning Iranian wrestler has been sentenced to two death sentences for taking part in anti-government protests.

The charges against Navid Afkari Sangari, 27, include forming a group to act against the government, killing a security agent and actively participating in protests in Kamerun and Shiraz, Radio Forza reported.

He was sentenced to two death sentences, six-and-a-half years in prison and 74 lashes. Afkari’s death sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme Court and his request for appeal was rejected.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said Afkari was arrested with his two brothers, Vahid and Habib, in August 2018.

It also published an image of a letter it said was from Navid Afkari, in which he said the Iranian authorities forced him to confess to manufactured charges.

All three brothers were found guilty at a court hearing in the city of Shiraz but only Afkari was sentenced to death.

Vahid was sentenced to 54 years and six months in prison and 74 lashes. Habib was given a prison term of 27 years and three months and 74 lashes.

Afkari has medalled in multiple national wrestling tournaments and his sentencing has sparked some international concern at his treatment.

Some Iranian-Americans activists and an American wrestler, have taken up his case and pleading for the execution order to be overturned.

“This is what the Islamic Republic of Iran does to a mother. Her name is Behieh Namjou," Masih Alinejad, a prominent Iranian dissident and journalist, tweeted to her more than 200,000 followers.

Ben Askren, a former Olympic wrestler, also tweeted about the case.