Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari was given two death sentences by the Iranian government after participating in a protest over economic and political struggles in the nation back in 2018.
Afkari and his two brothers were found guilty of multiple charges, including the murder of a security guard during the demonstrations. However, many believe that Afkari was tortured when he gave his confession. According to TMZ, a plastic bag was placed over his head and poured alcohol into his nostrils.
Afkari was sentenced to death in addition to the 74 lashes. His brothers Vahid and Habib were also sentenced to prison for 54 and 27 years, respectively. In addition, the brothers were also given 74 lashes.
UFC President Dana White posted a video on Twitter pleading to the Iranian government to spare the life of Navid.
“First of all, He’s a human being, No. 1,” said White. “And No. 2, he’s one of us. Could be any of my fighters.”
On the video, White says he reached out to President Trump for his assistance, who also tweeted, asking the Iranian government to not execute the Iranian wrestler.
“I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him,” Trump said. “They were protesting the “country’s worsening economic situation and inflation.”
There is currently a petition circulating that has more than 10,000 signatures to release the brothers.
The mother of the three men posted a video to twitter asking for help in saving her sons.
Morgan Ortagus, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman, also tweeted about the situation and called for justice for all the brothers.
“We join the world in outrage at the Iranian regime’s death sentence for Navid Afkari, who was tortured into giving a false confession after participating in peaceful protests in 2018,” said Ortagus. “The regime also tortured his two brothers and sentenced them to decades in prison. Let them go!”
As of yet, no execution date has been set.