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We are All with Saeid Mollaei
16 Sep 2020 14:00
2019 World Champion Sagi Muki supported 2018 World Champion Saeid Mollaei on social media in advance of the trial at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday. The Iran Judo Federation were suspended by the International Judo Federation (IJF) last October until they give guarantees that they will not boycott matches against Israeli opponents.
Sagi Muki: "Thursday will be a fateful day for my good friend, Judoka Saeid Mollaei, from Iran.
He is due to appear and testify in the World Sports Court in the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, as part of the trial against the Iranian Olympic Committee demanding that he be returned to Iran.
The Iranian Olympic Committee wants Saeid to compete in the upcoming competitions and the Olympics, under the Iranian flag, representing Iran.
An entire country against one citizen, one athlete. Much has been published about this situation and I am proud that Saeid and I are close friends.
In our conversations he has told me that and his family have been threatened many times and that he has not seen them for more than a year.
What is certain that the execution last weekend of Olympic boxer Navid Afkari , who demonstrated against the regime and for the right to freedom and equality in his country, was intended to convey a clear message to Saeid that this would be done to those who oppose the regime.
The requests of world leaders did not help and Navid is no longer alive. Even now that I am witing these lines, I am unable to stop thinking about this painful situation that connects to my own life.
Saeid’s request at the last World Cup held in Tokyo 2019, was to face me as an equal among equals.
The regime acted ruthlessly an prevented this as they had in previous competitions where we have had the opportunity to compete against each other.
Saeid chose to be a free man with no bond, proud of his culture and country, but to continue to be an athlete and judoka, sanctifying liberal values and upholding the spirit of the Olympic Games.
I pray that he will fulfill his dream of participating in the upcoming Olympics. I talked to Saeid at length, encouraged his spirit and strengthened him for the trial.
This is not a simple thing for him.
I wish for a day when he can come to Israel and I can visit Iran to meet his family.
I told him that I will do everything for him, wherever in the world he will be, to uphold his desire to live in peace and security.
I know the truth will come out and there will be justice in our world and, most of all, I wish that we will meet on the mats, as equals.
Please, let’s come together in one clear outcry in Israel and around the world, for the Irainian residents imprisoned in their country, with a clear message."
#We are All with Saeid.
Yours, Sagi Muki
Following the incident at the World Championships in Tokyo, Mollaei refused to return to Tehran and instead sought sanctuary in Germany, with the support of the IJF.
Mollaei has since been granted citizenship by Mongolia, whose President Khaltmaagiin Battulga is a former head of the country’s Judo Federation, to allow him to continue to compete internationally. Fears for Mollaei’s family in Iran have increased following the execution last Saturday of wrestling champion Navid Afkari.
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Domenico Di Guida (ITA)