FIFPRO, the global soccer players’ union, expressed “shock and disgust” at reports that Iranian soccer player Amir Nasr-Azadani faces execution “after campaigning for women’s rights and basic freedom in his country.”
“We stand in solidarity with Amir and demand that his punishment be lifted immediately,” FIFPRO said in a statement posted on Twitter on Monday.
Nasr-Azadani has been accused of being a member of a “armed group” involved in the deaths of three security officers during protests in Esfahan, central Iran, said the city’s chief justice Asadullah Jafari on Sunday, according to state news agency IRNA.
According to Jafari’s report, Nasr-Azadani was charged with rioting against authorities. He has been detained since November 27, but no sentence has been handed down, according to the report.
It is not clear when his trial will begin.
Protests against the government have raged in Iran since September, sparked initially by the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, after being apprehended by the state’s morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.
Public outrage over Amini’s death, combined with a variety of grievances against the Islamic Republic’s oppressive regime, has fueled the protests, even in the face of harsh punishments, including the death penalty.
In Tehran, Iran, on September 19, 2022, a police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic’s “morality police.”
Iran has carried out its second known protest-related execution.
According to the London-based activist outlet IranWire, the 26-year-old footballer from the historic city of Esfahan had played for the Iranian professional football clubs Rah-Ahan, Tractor, and Gol Reyhan.
If it is proven that the accused used a firearm, his sentence could carry the death penalty under Iran’s penal code; otherwise, he could be sentenced to prison.
According to Mizan Online, a news agency affiliated with Iran’s judiciary, and the semi-official Tasmin news agency, Iran executed a second man allegedly involved in the nationwide protest movement after he was convicted of fatally stabbing two security officials last month.
This came after another man was executed last Thursday, the first known execution since the protests began.