Irani Footballer Azadani was arrested in connection to the deaths of three security personnel during protests in Isfahan and accused of waging war against God, according to Iran’s ISNA news agency.
The 26-year-old Iranian league footballer is among at least 27 other Iranians facing death sentences in connection to the protests that have engulfed the country for almost three months.
Two of those men Majidreza Rahnavard and Mohsen Shekari, both 23 years old were publicly hanged this month.
The world union of professional footballers, FIFPRO, said it was “shocked and sickened” by Azadani’s sentencing “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,” the organization wrote on Twitter.
Prominent current and former footballers expressed solidarity and called for executions to end.
Former Iranian international star Ali Karimi and Iran’s World Cup team goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand used their social media platforms to call for the sentence to be revoked and an end to executions.
Asadollah Jafari, the judiciary chief of Isfahan, was quoted by local media as saying that Mr. Azadani was a member of an “armed group that operated in a networked and organized manner with the intent of fighting the basis of the Islamic Republic establishment.”
Anti-government protests have been widespread in Iran since the death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini, who was allegedly detained for failing to adhere to the country’s dress code for women.
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