Wrestler Navid Afkari executed by Iran after forced murder confession



Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari has been executed after being convicted of stabbing a security guard to death during anti-government protests in 2018.

The case led to an international outcry which included US President Donald Trump calling for the 27-year-old’s life to be spared.

Afkari was executed Saturday morning (local time) “after legal procedures were carried out at the insistence of the parents and the family of the victim”, Iranian state media quoted the head of the justice department in southern Fars province, Kazem Mousavi, as saying.

The Greco-Roman wrestler was convicted of killing Hassan Turkman, a water company security guard.

Iran’s Supreme Court rejected a review of the case in late August after Afkari’s family and activists said he was tortured into making a false confession.

Afkari’s lawyer said there was no proof of his guilt and accused authorities of denying his client a family visit before the execution, as required by law.

“Were you in so much hurry to execute the sentence that you also deprived Navid of a last meeting?” Hassan Younesi posted on Twitter.

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There was no immediate reaction by Iranian officials to the attorney’s accusation.

On Tuesday, the World Players Association, a global union representing 85,000 athletes, called for Iran’s expulsion from world sport if it executed Afkari.

The killing of the security guard took place during some of the worst unrest in a decade over economic hardships.

Iran’s clerical rulers have blamed the street protests on what they call “thugs” linked to exiles as well as the United States and Israel.

Iranian state television aired a video last week in which Afkari appeared to confess to Turkman’s killing.

The television also showed what appeared to be written confessions by Afkari, but he said in a recording circulated on social media that he was coerced into signing the documents.

“I hit twice, once and then again,” Afkari was shown saying with a stabbing gesture during a police reconstruction of the killing.

Human rights groups frequently accuse Iran’s state media of airing coerced confessions. Iran denies the accusation.

Reuters



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Cruel truth behind Aaron Finch’s Test cricket confession


Nine years after his international debut, Australian one-day captain Aaron Finch has cemented himself as one of the world’s most prolific opening batsmen.

Since 2018, Indian powerhouse Rohit Sharma is the only opener to score more ODI centuries than the Australian captain, who averages 50.17 with the bat during that period.

But as the Australian squad prepared for their six-match series against England, Finch made a startling confession about aspirations to represent his country in the game’s longest format.

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“In terms of red-ball cricket, I don’t think it’s realistic to play Test cricket again,” Finch said last week.

“Just based on two things — the amount of opportunity to play four-day cricket and force a claim, I think, is going to be really limited; and also the young batters coming through, there are some seriously good players in Australia, especially top-order batters.

“The talent depth is really, really strong at the moment so I don’t think that’s an opportunity to be honest.”

When looking back on the circumstances surrounding Finch’s short-lived Test career, the truth behind his honest admission is bitterly cruel.

The ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town left the Australian Test team without both of their opening batsmen. Despite missing the fourth match of the infamous tour to South Africa, openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft remained Australia’s highest run-scorers in the series.

Desperate to resurrect the top order, Australian selectors turned to one-day maestro Finch, who made his Test debut against Pakistan in October 2018.

The Victorian had already proven himself a natural leader, and was touted as one of the figures who would restore the team’s image.

But the national selectors were so hellbent on filling the void left by Warner, Finch was chosen to open the batting, despite rarely playing the role in first-class cricket.

Inevitably, Finch struggled to adapt to the unfamiliar situation at the top of the order, and after five Tests was dropped with a batting average of 27.80.

In Amazon docu-series The Test, a discussion between Australian head coach Justin Langer and bowling coach David Saker highlighted precisely why his axing was unjust.

“If Finch plays, the only way he can play is opening,” Langer conceded.

“That’s my gut feeling with the team we’ve got, because we have enough guys who can play in the middle order.”

Saker replied: “If you go with Finch at the middle, who goes at the top? Finch can’t bat at the top, not in Australia.”

Langer responded: “Well, he can’t play then, mate. Who else are we going to pick?”

These comments occurred before the Perth Test against India in December 2018, two matches before Finch was dropped. The coaching staff knew he was not equipped to open the batting in Test cricket, but they persisted with the failing experiment regardless.

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Due to Australia’s lack of batting depth in the aftermath of the ball-tampering saga, Finch was never given an opportunity to prove his worth in the middle order.

With Warner and Steve Smith back from their bans, it’s unlikely the 33-year-old will don the whites for Australian ever again.

“Doing the opening duties last summer was one of the first times I’d really done it in the longer format,” Finch said last year.

“But you take any opportunity you can when you play for Australia.”

Australia’s T20 series against England kicks off on Saturday morning AEST at 3am.



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Decades on, Alison extracted a confession from her gymnastics coach


He put her on the phone to him and told her to keep him talking. She did, for two hours.

“Oh, dear, you bring back an unsavoury episode,” Partington said to her. “That would be the worst episode of my life. You can’t make excuses for weakness … it’s a character flaw … a stupid episode … a moment of weakness.” Alison still bristles when remembering his self-justifications.

Partington continued: “But I didn’t have too many other episodes where … well, I didn’t have any other episodes, actually.”

Yet there had been one other victim, seven years previously, who now came to light. The particulars were familiar: a 12-year-old with stars in her eyes, a sleepover with a phantom fellow invitee who suddenly and mysteriously could not make it, then a grotesque forcing of himself on her.

Two cases made the offending institutional.

To the police, Partington said: “We [he and Alison] shared a lot of time together in terms of … training … unfortunately, one night she was at my place for training and one thing led to another.”

He did not want to “incriminate” Alison, he said, but it was infatuation all round. She put him on a pedestal, he was irresistibly drawn to her, “a young attractive gymnast”. “The mutual thing goes both ways,” he said.

In the transcript, you can just about hear the growl of Judge Douglas Trapnell from the County Court bench at this.

Partington’s warped thinking became Alison’s. “I thought I was consenting,” she said. Her confusion would not clear for decades.

Her case attracted no attention, then nor since. But she came forward in the wake of a recent wave of accounts by gymnasts around the world of physical and emotional abuse in their sport, prompted by the release of a Netflix documentary on disgraced and jailed American gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. It was a dam-buster. In the lull where the Tokyo Olympic Games should have been, their stories rang out.

In Australia, too, the tales are legion. Most fall frustratingly short of the standard necessary to become criminal matters, but are very much within the remit of authorities overseeing a culture which could be described as martial. Gymnastics Australia has asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct an investigation.

At the far end of the scale, but sending shivers up all spines, are long-hidden stories like Alison’s. Partington worked for another 20 or more years as a gym coach, judge and PE teacher after crossing her path.

‘Intimacy meant I was a good person’

It was Box Hill in the early 1980s. Alison loved and was good at gymnastics, and at home was at war with a sister three years her senior who was developing schizophrenia. Partington’s home gym was her refuge and portal. He became a father figure.

“He understood my dream for gymnastics excellence in a way that my own parents didn’t,” she said in her victim impact statement. “I was excited by [his] interest in me, which intensified over the years. Intimacy with him meant I was a good person, worthy of his attention.

“When I found myself, aged 14, alone in his house, I saw it as proof that I was special. I didn’t regard his first assault as rape, downplaying it merely as a sexual encounter, the dues to keep his affection.”

A teenage Alison Wright (now Alison Quigley) in her gymnastics days in the 1980s.

A teenage Alison Wright (now Alison Quigley) in her gymnastics days in the 1980s.

When Partington had approached Alison’s mother about a sleepover, he said his own 14-year-old daughter would be there as well. But she wasn’t. Alison remembered his heavy breathing. “I also recall his heavy weight on me … and feeling pinned down and overwhelmed,” she said. She would have weighed just over 40 kilos. “It was just awful,” she said.

Subsequently, Partington groped her at his gym and made her perform oral sex on him in his car. He picked her up from school, telling her to tell her mother the bus was late. Her mother suspected something was amiss, but Alison would tell her nothing. “I feared the end of my career,” she said.

It caused a split between mother and daughter that Alison said was still healing. “My heart hardened against her,” she said.

Alison wondered why Partington cooled towards her, blaming herself. She remembered a sudden exodus of three young gymnasts from Partington’s club one year and wondered about that, too. She developed an eating disorder, changed schools and gym clubs, but a year later had had enough.

“By the time, I was 15, I was too exhausted and emotionally strung out to continue in the sport I loved,” she said in her statement.

At 17, she hesitantly told her first boyfriend about Partington. “He wanted to kill him,” she said.

Her boyfriend was Tony Smith, now the Speaker in the House of Representatives. At 18, she went to a lawyer, but when he asked for evidence and she said she had none, he said: “Sorry.” She had kept diaries, but later burnt them, hoping to burn the memories, too. She would regret that.

Alison dabbled in journalism, moved to Western Australia, adopted a cowgirl persona, then on a whim jumped on a stranger’s yacht to sail around the world and see it. Back in Australia, she settled in Queensland, opened a catering business, did an arts-law degree, added a Masters in creative writing, married David Quigley and had two sons.

Still, she recognised that in everything she did she was obsessive and sometimes reckless. Therapy has helped her to understand what this was all about.

“Until I began to get professional help, I was unable to find a direct line to my emotions, express them authentically and articulate my innermost needs to others,” she said. “The barriers weren’t just saving me from being hurt by others, they were preventing me from being intimate with my most authentic self.”

When one of Alison’s sons also developed an eating disorder, she took him to a psychiatrist. At her husband’s suggestion, she told him her own story, too. “He’s a paedophile,” the psychiatrist said. “Imagine if that was your 14-year-old son.”

“Oh my God, yes,” Alison thought.

It was 2016. The royal commission was in session. Two cases — one concerning a dance teacher, the other a soccer coach — resonated. Fortunately, the statute of limitations has just been eased. The machinery of justice cranked into action. The other victim was identified and a case established.

Alison thinks back on how coaches would take carloads of prepubescent gymnasts interstate — with few or no chaperones — for championships and wonders how many other victims might be hidden in the folds of history. But two was enough now.

Speaking to Alison on the phone, Partington was sorry to her but for himself, too. To the police, he was vague, saying at first that “we may have been intimate”. He recalled no further transgression with Alison, nor any other victim. But at the committal hearing, he pleaded guilty, which was to Alison a small mercy, sparing her cross-examination.

Alison Quigley's life today takes in parenthood, PhD studies and authoring a book.

Alison Quigley’s life today takes in parenthood, PhD studies and authoring a book. Credit:Paul Harris

Judge Trapnell was scathing. “Sexual offending by adults against vulnerable children is a scourge on our society,” he said.

He made note of the vast power imbalance between adult and child, Partington’s position of authority over her career and his disregard for her inexperience and the risks of pregnancy and venereal disease. He said that distance in time from the crime and a blameless life since were not mitigation, and that victims often took longer to rehabilitate than the perpetrator.

“It is clear from the heartfelt expressions of great emotional suffering and grief contained in both victim impact statements that your victims have had their childhoods destroyed, their self-esteem damaged, educational and career opportunities reduced and the capacity to form and maintain serious relationships impaired,” he said.

He did allow for Partington’s age — 76 at the time of sentencing — lack of prior convictions, early guilty plea and remorse. The sentence was six years’s jail, with a minimum of 3½.

Alison says she is satisfied with the outcome. She cares full-time for her son and aims next year to do a PhD with a law theme. In the meantime, she has written a book called The Trophy Room that is now with agents. It’s based loosely on her life experience but is a murder mystery.

She says that as a topic, murder is easier to take.

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Former wrestling star Marty Jannetty posts confession he ‘made a man disappear’


Former wrestling star Marty Jannetty appears to have admitted to making a man “disappear” in a disturbing Facebook post.

The former WWE star claimed the incident took place when he worked at a bowling alley, aged 13.

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Jannetty, now 60, shared the concerning story, which has since been deleted, to his social media page.

The post appears to insinuate he committed a crime against a would-be attacker, who was “never found”.

It then seems to suggest the victim was left in the Chattahoochee River, which spans Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.

According to RingsideNews, the post read: “I never told no one this, even my brother Geno … cause Geno would‘ve killed him, and I didn’t want my brother gone.

“He‘d only recently come home from Viet Nam.

“I was 13, working at Victory Lanes bowling alley buying weed from a f** that worked there.

“He put his hands on me … he dragged me around to the back of the building … you already know what he was gonna try to do.

“That was the very first time I made a man disappear.

“They never found him … they should of looked in the Chattahoochee River … but Winnie [the girl in these pics] I like you so damn much, probably my favourite.

“But I promised myself way back then, nobody would ever hurt me again … that includes you.

“I loved you but you hurt me with your f****** Jamaican jealousy. You can go your own way, I don‘t need you.”

A commenter asked if Jannetty was doing OK, to which the former pro-wrestler responded that the two had a “fall out.”

“But, if you’re asking bout the other thing. yes, that was a billion years ago, plus, I have the satisfaction of knowing that B***H a** n*nja never got to do another kid like that..”

Jannetty did not immediately return The Sun’s request for comment about his now-deleted Facebook post.

But according to TMZ, the Columbia Police Department in Georgia said they are going to “look into this.”

This is not the first time that Jannetty‘s social media activity has shocked his fans.

In 2018, Jannetty claimed his life was almost destroyed when his Facebook page was hacked.

The sick hackers put a post up on his page that said he wanted to have sex with his own daughter.

And he raised serious concerns last year when he revealed he bedded his sex addiction counsellor and went on a 60-day bender.

This story first appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission.



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Spectre of earnings confession adds to market risk


“There’s just seven sessions left in the financial period, which means sometimes people decide to crystalise any losses they’ve had this financial year,” Ms Lee said.

“So we could see a bit of selling this week for firms that have not done well.”

Ms Lee said ASX 200 stragglers hurt during the coronavirus slump – including the likes of Southern Cross Media, oOh! Media, G8 Education, Flight Centre, and Webjet – were particularly vulnerable.

The potential for negative corporate updates and re-ratings was also high, she said.

“The scenario is that a lack of bad news – as opposed to good news – is going to be a positive thing for the market.

“There are huge expectations for negative revaluations of property trusts, and bricks and mortar retail, so anything better than that will be seen as a plus for many.”

Wall Street will provide a weak lead for local stocks on Monday after the Dow Jones lost 0.8 per cent and the S&P 500 fell by 0.5 per cent on Friday.

The ASX 200 had earlier limped into the weekend but still managed to rise 1.6 per cent for its seventh weekly rise in eight.

The trickle of earnings reports continues on Monday with IGA supermarket supplier Metcash due to publish its full-year results, potentially offering an insight into the impact of panic buying and hoarding during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Building firm CSR is also due to host its annual general meeting on Wednesday in what may offer a glimpse of how the construction industry is holding up.

On the economics front, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe Governor Lowe is due to speak on Monday morning at the ANU Crawford Leadership Forum on the global economy and COVID-19.

“There, he may also share insights from the economic experience abroad, and will likely, in our view, call for a tapering of fiscal stimulus that ensures the recovery is not put at risk,” NAB’s markets research team said in a note.

Preliminary merchandise trade data will be published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday, with ANZ expecting the goods balance surplus to drop a touch on the previous month.

Commonwealth Bank will also release its weekly card spend data, while the bureau’s latest business survey on Wednesday will show how firms fared in mid-June following the easing of social distancing restrictions.

CBA expects job vacancy data on Thursday to decline, given the recent deterioration in the labour market, though it said the timing of the survey – the third Friday in May – could complicate the result.

NAB has flagged it will also update its consumer spending and business cashflow report this week.

Offshore, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand meets on Wednesday. It is expected to leave its policy settings unchanged.

In the US, durable goods orders for May will show how business spending is faring amid the ongoing rise in unemployment.

The country’s personal income and spending report for May is tipped to reveal some recovery in spending amid a further slowing in core inflation.

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Harry Redknapp’s worrying confession about running over Sandra’s foot in freak accident


The strength of Harry Redknapp and wife Sandra’s relationship was really put to the test when he ran over her foot.

Doting wife and mother Sandra has been Harry’s rock since they were both 17 through managerial sackings, a tax probe and a horrific minibus crash that killed a friend.

And she even forgave him for accidentally running over her foot in 2016 in what he described as a “freak accident”.

Poor Sandra trapped her foot inside the motor as the former Premier League manager set off after dropping her at the shops.

Witnesses described how she screamed with agony as she was pulled along by Harry’s car in the bizarre incident.

Horrified onlookers in Bournemouth said Harry slammed on the brakes but that Sandra’s foot had been seriously injured.

Harry accidentally ran over Sandra’s foot in a freak accident

Her coat is thought to have become trapped in the door while her foot was still in the footwell of the four-by-four as it pulled away.

“There was a lot of blood on the tarmac and Harry was beside himself,” said one witness to The Sun.

Others told how Harry looked shaken as he took care of stricken Sandra while they waited for medics to arrive.

An ambulance rushed Sandra to hospital, where worried Harry stayed by his wife’s side before she went in to surgery.

Sandra was taken in to have surgery

“We have honestly never had a row and she didn’t blame for turning her ankle into what looked like a slice of bacon,’ admitted Harry in May 2019.

“It was my fault entirely as I wasn’t concentrating. She had to have skin grafts after half of her ankle was left in the road but you couldn’t have a row with my missus if you tried. She’s so placid.

“I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s my electrician, my chef, my handyman, my chippie and a good Samaritan to everyone.”

The lovable ex-Spurs and West Ham manager feared his wife was going to lose her foot.

Admitting it could have been a lot worse, Harry claimed her ankle “looked like a shark had taken a bite”.

“It was just a freak accident you know, Sandra went across the road and unfortunately she had gone behind the car to cross over the road and as I went to drive off I caught her,” he told BBC News.

“I drove over her ankle basically, if the full weight of the car had gone over the ankle god knows what would have happened to her ankle and her foot.”

Harry and Sandra have been together 55 years and married for 52

Despite Harry’s unfortunate mistake, the loved-up pair have not had a single argument in more than five decades of marriage,, which is a remarkable achievement.

“We’ve never had a row. Ever. After all these years, we’ve never had a minute’s problem between us. And that’s true,” he said.

“That’s not bulls***. If I get the hump, she’ll just say, ‘look at you Harry, look at you, just calm down’ and I do.”

Sweetly, Sandra is the only person that Harry has ever written a card to – and now shes does all his writing for him.

Harry Redknapp and wife Sandra have never had a row

Despite the soccer dynasty, Harry insisted that Sandra and her late sister Pat, who was married to Frank Lampard senior, were no WAGs.

“Sandra listens to all the games on the radio or on TV but she doesn’t often come to football,” explained Harry.

“WAGs didn’t exist back then. Besides, they both worked at a hairdresser in Barking on Saturdays anyway,” he said.

“I’ve just been so lucky. Jamie always says I won the lottery marrying (Sandra), and he’s dead right, I did.”

Sandra was with Harry when he was crowned king of the jungle

While having had his pick of showbiz pals over the years, the only person Harry has ever wanted or needed is his wife.

“I’m not really bothered about friends. I’ve got my family. But most of all, I’ve got Sandra and that’s all that matters.”

But Harry did become a bit of a sex symbol after winning I’m A Celebrity in 2018 – gaining attention from outside the football world.

Sandra noticed the increase in attention her husband started to attract from the opposite sex, but knows he will never leave her.

Harry and Sandra are the king and queen

“Sandra knows no one’s that stupid to want to run off with me and I haven’t been chucked any knickers or been handed any phone numbers of anything,” admitted Harry to The Mirror.

“No, no, no, definitely none of that stuff. I’m happily married. I’m not stupid. I know when I’m well off.

“If I’d married an ugly old bird, sitting there with her rollers in, or someone I didn’t stop arguing with for 10 years, I might’ve been different.

“I might’ve ended up getting a divorce; but I married a super fit bird, I get on great with.”

*Celebrity Gogglebox airs tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm





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