Saman Pashaei, a former Iranian and world wrestling champion and university professor, was released from Saqqez Prison, in Kurdistan province, on a heavy bail on 21 September after spending 80 days in detention.

The wrestler had been transferred to Saqqez Prison on 19 September from the Ministry of Intelligence detention centre in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province.

Pashaei was arrested without a judicial warrant on 2 July, while passing through a police checkpoint in Saqqez.

After his release, he was welcomed outside the prison by a group of political and civil activists in the city.

Pashaei’s detention had prompted widespread calls for his release, both inside Iran and internationally.

In early September, more than 300 civilians, academics, civil rights activists and political figures signed an open letter to the Islamic Republic’s judiciary calling for his immediate release.

Sardar Pashaei, a vocal political dissident of the Iranian government, former mentor of the Iranian national wrestling team and brother of Saman Pashaei, took to the X social media platform on 13 August and said that his family was “horrified” by his brother’s physical condition during a brief meeting they had with him in the presence of security interrogators.