Iran said it executed a young wrestler on Saturday despite international and social media calls for his release, including a plea from Donald Trump.
Iran claims Navid Afkari was responsible for the murder of a public sector worker during anti-government protests in 2018.
The 27-year-old was executed in the morning at a prison in the southern city of Shiraz, provincial prosecutor general Kazem Mousavi was quoted as saying on state television's website.
Afkari had been found guilty of 'voluntary homicide' for stabbing to death Hossein Torkman, a water department worker, on August 2, 2018, according to the judiciary.
In a final message from Afkari that has been shared on social media following the announcement of his execution, the wrestler maintained his innocence over the killing of the worker.
'I’ve exhausted all resorts to the justice system of the Islamic Republic. They’ve rejected my requests for a retrial,' he says in the audio clip. 'This means, after two years, the judiciary has decided to execute me.
Iranian state TV has aired an apparent confession by wrestler Navid Afkari (pictured), who today was executed after having been charged with a 2018 murder
'The Islamic Republic of Iran is about to execute an innocent person like me. They’ve shut down my voice and they’re now about to take my life.
'I’m asking every freedom-loving person from any ideology be my voice and that of my family because human’s honour without the right to justice has no meaning.
'I’ve all kinds of documents to prove my innocence. With these documents, if ever I’m executed, people should know that in the 21st century, with all this talk of human rights by the United Nations in the world, they still executed innocent people in Iran.'
US President Trump had said last week: 'Hearing that Iran is looking to execute a great and popular wrestling star, 27-year-old Navid Afkarai, whose sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets.
'To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man's life, and not execute him. Thank you!' he tweeted, tagging a Fox News story on the wrestler and the UFC mixed martial arts organization and its president Dana White.
US President Donald Trump pleaded with Iranian authorities to reconsider the 'great and popular wrestling star's' death sentence in a set of tweets on Friday (pictured)
On Saturday, Iran responded to Trump's tweet with a nearly 11-minute state TV package on Afkari.
It included the weeping parents of the slain water company employee, Hassan Torkaman.
The package also showed footage of Afkari on the back of a motorbike, claiming he had stabbed Torkaman in the back without explaining why he allegedly carried out the assault.
The state TV segment showed blurred police documents and described the killing as a 'personal dispute,' without elaborating.
It also said Afkari's cellphone had been in the area and showed surveillance footage of him walking down a street, talking on his phone.
Those supporting Afkari have accused police of torturing a confession out of him after finding the surveillance footage.
Shiraz and several other urban centres across the Islamic republic had been the scene that day of anti-government protests and demonstrations over economic and social hardship.
Navid (left) and his brother Vahid (right) were sentenced by Iran's supreme court along with a third brother, Habib
Reports published abroad say Afkari was condemned on the basis of confessions aired on television after being extracted under torture, prompting online campaigns of support for his release.
Iranian opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi, who is based in Paris, reacted to