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Iranian player Amir Nasr-Azadani avoids death penalty but sentenced to 16 years imprisonment

Iranian soccer player had earlier been reportedly sentenced to death by hanging amid anti-government protests in Iran

Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani sentenced to 16-years imprisonment over involvement in anti-government protests.

Iranian football player Amir Nasr-Azadani has been sentenced to 16 years in prison by an Islamic Revolutionary Court.

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The ruling was reportedly made on Monday, January 9, 2023 after his alleged involvement in the murders of three Basij officers – paramilitary volunteers affiliated with Islamic Revolutionary Guard – and two other crimes committed during the current anti-government protests that have rocked the Persian nation since the middle of September 2022.

According to judicial news agency Mizan via AS, three other people implicated in the murder of the three Basij officers in the city of Isfahan in mid-November have been sentenced to death and another to two years in prison, according to a report from the Director of NGO Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

Reports in December 2022, had earlier suggested Amir Nasr-Azdani would face the death penalty, but the decision has now been overturned after his case went viral last year, drawing a series of criticism around the world- amongst which came from the international football players' union [FIFPRO] as well as international media.

The Iranian international has now been sentenced to 16 years in prison for his involvement in the murder of the three Basij officers, five for assembly and collusion to commit crimes, and five more for being a member of illegal groups with the intention of disturbing public safety.

However, according to a report from AS, he will serve the sentences concurrently which means he will, in principle, spend 16 years in prison.

In the same trial, Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi Sheikh Shabani, and Saeed Yaqoubi have all been reportedly sentenced to death for “moharebe”, which roughly translates to “waging war against God”, following the murders of the Basij officers in Isfahan and join 11 other people – as things stand – who will face the death penalty. 

Nasr-Azadani has played for a number of clubs in Iran and between 2016 and 2018, most notably Tractor Sazi.

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