EU condemns execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari

Iran said it executed wrestler Navid Afkari, 27, on Sept. 12, 2020 at a prison in the southern city of Shiraz over the murder of a public sector worker during anti-government protests in Aug. 2018. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 September 2020

EU condemns execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari

  • Iranian state media reported Afkari’s execution on Saturday
  • Afkari, a champion Greco-Roman wrestler, had been convicted of stabbing a security guard to death during anti-government protests in 2018

BRUSSELS: The European Union on Monday added its voice to an international outcry over the execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari, saying the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment which the EU opposes in all cases.
Iranian state media reported Afkari’s execution on Saturday. Afkari, a champion Greco-Roman wrestler, had been convicted of stabbing a security guard to death during anti-government protests in 2018.
Afkari’s family has maintained that his conviction depended on a confession that was extracted through torture, which Afkari later recanted. The Iranian judiciary rejected his appeals.
“The European Union is opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances and cases with no exception,” a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
“Human rights remain a central feature of our engagement with Iran. We will continue to engage with Iranian authorities on this issue including through the local EU representation in Teheran and also on individual cases such as this recent execution,” he said.
The United States, which unlike the EU practices the death penalty, has also condemned Afkari’s execution. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it “an outrageous assault on human dignity, even by the despicable standards of this regime.”


Lucky baby anteater escapes birds, falls from tree into care of Australian zoo

Updated 21 October 2020

Lucky baby anteater escapes birds, falls from tree into care of Australian zoo

  • The echidna will remain at the Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital until it grows spines and can feed itself

SYDNEY: A lucky echidna puggle, or baby spiny anteater, that survived an attack by birds and fell from a tree is taking its first steps as zoo keepers in Australia hand-feed the young mammal.
Members of the public brought the young echidna to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney last month after it fell 4 meters from a tree onto their balcony, somehow escaping becoming supper for the winner of a clash between a raven and a magpie.
“He was lost from his mum and the story is that some people were just sitting on their balcony one nice afternoon and they heard this thud and they looked down and they saw this little guy on the balcony,” said Taronga Zoo Senior Keeper Sarah Male.
“And they’ve looked up into the tree and seen a raven and a magpie there.”
After recovering from scratches and peck marks, the puggle – grey, sharp-nosed and easily held in the palm of one hand – has put on weight and started to develop fur, Male said.
“While the puggle is improving every day, it is still very young and in the wild would still be dependent on mum, so will require ongoing care for the next few months,” she said in an emailed statement.
“I’ve hand-raised lots of animals throughout the years at Taronga but such a young echidna puggle is a new experience.”
The echidna will remain at the Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital until it grows spines and can feed itself. The zoo said it hasn’t made plans for the animal beyond that.
Echidnas and platypuses are the only two species belonging to the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals. Their young are known as puggles.