FIFPRO ‘Saddened’ As Nasr-Azadani Risks Death Sentence
The possibility of Iranian player Amir Nasr-Azadani receiving a death sentence in connection with protests that have rocked the nation for three months startled and sickened FIFPRO, the world union of professional footballers.
According to Abdullah Jafari, the head of Isfahan’s judiciary, who was cited on Sunday by Iran’s ISNA news agency, Nasr-Azadani was detained in the city of Isfahan two days after reportedly taking part in a “armed riot” on September 16 in which three security agents were killed.
The 26-year-old was charged with “rebellion, membership in criminal gangs, cooperation to undermine security, and hence assisting in moharabeh,” or “emnity against God,” a deadly offense in the Islamic republic, according to Jafari.
After advocating for women’s rights and fundamental freedom in his nation, professional footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani is reportedly facing execution in Iran, the union announced on its Twitter page late on Monday.
“We demand the immediate lifting of Amir’s penalty in solidarity with him.”
The alarm was raised following a widespread uproar over Iran’s recent execution of two young men detained in connection with protests.
Nasr-Azadani, who represented Iran at the Under-16 level, started his football career with the Tehran club Rah-Ahan, with whom he competed in Iran’s top division for the first time.
The defender, who is currently with FC Iranjavan Bushehr, temporarily played for Tractor SC under former Wales coach John Toshack.
The protester and former Iranian international Ali Karimi tweeted in support of the footballer, adding, “Do not execute Amir.”
In their opening match against England, the Iranian national team, which was competing in the World Cup in Qatar, mounted its own protest by declining to perform the national anthem.
However, they turned around to sing it before games against Wales and the USA.
The death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who was detained by morality police on suspicion of breaking the Islamic Republic’s strict clothing code for women, on September 16 has provoked demonstrations in Iran.
Amnesty International reports that 11 people have been verified to have received death sentences as a result of the protests, and at least nine others, including Nasr-Azadani, are at least at risk of receiving death sentences.
Iran refers to the demonstrations as “riots” and claims that its adversaries outside supported them.
Voria Ghafouri, a well-known former international star, was detained in Iran last month after supporting the demonstrations and denouncing the crackdown, but he was later released on bail.