Outburst after Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani sentenced to death for supporting women's rights
FIFPRO says it is 'shocked and sickened' at reports that professional player Amir Nasr-Azadani is facing execution in Iran for supporting women's rights and has called for the punishment to be revoked.
Amir Nasr-Azadani, a 26-year-old professional Iranian footballer, is facing execution reportedly for campaigning in support of women's rights and for the alleged murder of Colonel Esmaeil Cheraghi, which has sparked massive social media outrage.
Nasr-Azadani, who has played in Iran's premier league and for the national youth team, was reportedly sentenced to death on November 17 for raising his voice in support of women's rights amid anti-government protests following the death of Mahsa Amini.
Reports also suggested that the regime has arrested Nasr-Azadani for the alleged murder of Colonel Esmaeil Cheraghi and two members of Iran's voluntary paramilitary service, Basij.
Nasr-Azadani, who has played for teams like Rah-Ahan Tehran FC, Tractor SC and Gol-e Rayhan, was reportedly one among the three arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from Isfahan.
It has also been reported that the Iranian defender appeared on state television on November 20 and read his confession.
Widespread anti-government demonstrations have taken place in Iran due to the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who passed away while in detention in September after being arrested for allegedly violating the nation's Islamic dress code.
News of Amir Nasr-Azadani's execution has 'shocked and sickened' the FIFPRO, the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers, and has called for the punishment revoked.
A message posted by the official Twitter account of players' union FIFPRO on Monday said, "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," it added.
Iran has already executed two people in connection with the anti-government demonstrations. Mohsen Shekari, age 23, was hanged to death on December 8 after being found guilty of "waging war against God" by a revolutionary court. Majidreza Rahnavard was publicly hung from a crane on December 12 after being found guilty of killing two security personnel.
The US State Department on Monday condemned Iran for Rahnavard's execution. "We denounce this draconian treatment in the strongest terms. These harsh sentences and now the first public execution... are meant to intimidate Iran's people. They're meant to suppress dissent," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a briefing.
Amnesty International has said authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in what it called 'sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran'.
Amir Nasr-Azadani's arrest and death sentence has sparked massive outrage, with most people expressing disgust over Iran's 'shocking' situation.
"TERRIBLE that someone is sentenced for protesting in favor of women's rights. This is the case of Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani," noted one user on Twitter.
Another added, "Because he believes in the basic humanity of women? My goodness. I pray his life is spared."
A third angry user remarked, "The year is 2022. This is where we are when a man in Iran stands up for women and human rights. It's sickening and incredibly sad that women are seen as such a threat that they must be silenced. And men that stand beside them risk facing the same punishment. AWFUL."
Here's a look at some of the reactions on the micro-blogging site: