Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani has reportedly been sentenced to death by hanging for campaigning for women’s rights and basic freedom. FIFPRO, the professional players’ union, has condemned the decision and has asked for the punishment to be immediately revoked.
Riots and protests have engulfed Iran since the death in custody of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in September. She was arrested after allegedly refusing to adhere to Iran’s strict dress code for women.
Her death has caused an all-out civil war in Iran, with many taking to the streets to fight for women’s rights and freedom. The Iranian national team also showed solidarity with protestors, as they refused to sing the national anthem in their 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against England.
Amir Nasr-Azadani, 26, has been actively campaigning for women’s rights since September. The government has reportedly cracked its whip at him, sentencing him to death by hanging.
According to Iran Wire, Amir Nasr-Azadani is set to be executed for alleged involvement in the deaths of Colonel Esmaeil Cheraghi and two Basij members. FIFPRO has come out in support of the professional footballer, demanding the verdict be overturned.
Their statement on Twitter read:
“FIFPRO is shocked and sickened by reports that professional footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani faces execution in Iran after campaigning for women’s rights and basic freedom in his country. We stand in solidarity with Amir and call for the immediate removal of his punishment.”
According to Iranian news agency Mizan, the 26-year-old is set to suffer the same fate as Iranian wrestler Majid Reza Rahnavard, who was publicly executed for being vocal against the treatment of women in Iran.
Amir Nasr-Azadani was reportedly forced to confess on TV
According to Iran Wire, Nasr-Azadani, alongside two other accused, appeared on state TV on November 20 and read an allegedly forced confession. The report claimed that Nasr-Azadani was indeed at the protest where Cheraghi and two others were killed but was nowhere near the location of the assassination.
The report also added that his involvement was limited to chanting slogans for a few hours. Nasr-Azadani never represented the Iran national football team but played for three notable clubs in the country: Rah-Ahan, Tractor and Gol-e Rayhan.