Iranian Climber Faces Possible Arrest, Imprisonment For Competing Without Hijab

SEOUL, South Korea — An Iranian aggressive climber left South Korea on Tuesday after competing at an event throughout which she climbed with out her nation’s crucial scarf masking, authorities said. Farsi-language media exterior of Iran warned she might have been compelled to go away early by Iranian officers and can face arrest once more dwelling, which Tehran shortly denied.

The willpower by Elnaz Rekabi, a quite a lot of medalist in competitions, to forgo the headscarf, or hijab, obtained right here as protests sparked by the Sept. 16 dying in custody of a 22-year-old woman have entered a fifth week. Mahsa Amini was detained by the nation’s morality police over her clothes.

Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi competes in the Asian Championship in South Korea.

Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi competes throughout the Asian Championship in South Korea.

The demonstrations, drawing school-age children, oil employees and others to the highway in over 100 cities, characterize the most-serious downside to Iran’s theocracy as a result of the mass protests surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election.

A later Instagram publish on an account attributed to Rekabi described her not carrying a hijab as “unintentional,” though it wasn’t immediately clear whether or not or not she wrote the publish or what state of affairs she was in on the time. The Iranian authorities routinely pressures activists at dwelling and abroad, often airing what rights group describe as coerced confessions on state television.

Rekabi left Seoul on a Tuesday morning flight, the Iranian Embassy in South Korea said. The BBC’s Persian service, which has intensive contacts inside Iran no matter being banned from working there, quoted an unnamed “knowledgeable supply” who described Iranian officers as seizing every Rekabi’s mobile phone and passport.

BBC Persian moreover said she initially had been scheduled to return on Wednesday, nevertheless her flight apparently had been moved up unexpectedly.

IranWire, one different website specializing within the nation based mostly by Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari who as soon as was detained by Iran, alleged that Rekabi could be immediately transferred to Tehran’s notorious Evin Jail after arriving throughout the nation. Evin Jail was the location of an enormous fireplace this weekend that killed not less than eight prisoners.

In a tweet, the Iranian Embassy in Seoul denied “all of the faux, false information and disinformation” regarding Rekabi’s departure on Tuesday. However instead of posting {a photograph} of her from the Seoul rivals, it posted an image of her carrying a headscarf at a earlier rivals in Moscow, the place she took a bronze medal.

Calls to the Iranian Embassy in Seoul rang unanswered Tuesday. Rekabi didn’t positioned on a hijab all through Sunday’s final on the Worldwide Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asia Championship, consistent with the Seoul-based Korea Alpine Federation, the organizers of the event.Federation officers said Rekabi wore a hijab all through her preliminary appearances on the one-week climbing event. She wore only a black headband when competing Sunday, her darkish hair pulled once more in a ponytail; she had a white jersey with Iran’s flag as a model on it.

The later Instagram publish, written throughout the first particular person, offered an apology on Rekabi’s behalf. The publish blamed a sudden identify for her to climb the wall throughout the rivals — although footage of the rivals confirmed Rekabi relaxed as she approached and after she competed. It moreover sought to clarify her journey once more to Iran on Tuesday as being “on schedule.”

Rekabi was on Iran’s 11-member delegation, comprised of eight athletes and three coaches, to the event, consistent with the federation. Federation officers said they weren’t initially aware of Rekabi competing with out the hijab nevertheless regarded into the case after receiving inquires about her.

They said the event doesn’t have any pointers on requiring female athletes carrying or not carrying headscarves. Nevertheless, Iranian ladies competing abroad beneath the Iranian flag on a regular basis placed on the hijab.

“Our understanding is that she is returning to Iran, and we’ll proceed to watch the state of affairs because it develops on her arrival,” the Worldwide Federation of Sport Climbing, which oversaw the event, said in a press launch. “It is very important stress that athletes’ security is paramount for us and we help any efforts to maintain a valued member of our group protected on this state of affairs.”

The federation said it had been in touch with every Rekabi and Iranian officers, nevertheless declined to elaborate on the substance of those calls when reached by The Related Press.

The federation moreover declined to debate the Instagram publish attributed to Rekabi and the claims in it. Later Tuesday, South Korea’s Overseas Ministry acknowledged that the Iranian athlete and her crew had left the nation, with out elaborating. Rekabi, 33, has accomplished on the podium 3 occasions throughout the Asian Championships, taking one silver and two bronze medals for her efforts.

Thus far, human rights groups estimate that over 200 of us have been killed throughout the protests and the violent security drive crackdown that adopted. Iran has not offered a dying toll in weeks. Demonstrations have been seen in over 100 cities, consistent with the group Human Rights Activists in Iran. 1000’s are believed to have been arrested.

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