Iranian mountaineer Elnaz Rekabi returns to Tehran after competing without wearing the mandatory hijab


Iranian competitive mountaineer Elnaz Rekabi returned to Tehran on Wednesday morning after competing in the International Sport Climbing Federation Asian Championship in South Korea without wearing the hijab, which is compulsory for female athletes from the Islamic Republic .

Rekabi, 33, was greeted at Imam Khomeini International Airport by people cheering him on and shouting “Heroes! to her cab as she drove through the massive crowd around 5 a.m., video on Twitter showed.

The athlete’s decision not to wear the mandatory hijab during his Sunday competition in Seoul came after the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody by the country’s vice squad after being arrested for not wearing her hijab properly. .

Amini’s death has sparked protests in 100 cities across the country that are now entering their fifth week. Although Iran has not given an updated death toll for weeks, rights groups estimate that more than 200 people have been killed and thousands arrested during the protests and security crackdown. who followed.

ELNAZ REKABI, WHO COMPETED WITHOUT HIJAB, RETURNED TO ISLAMIC REPUBLIC FOR ARREST: REPORT

In this image taken from video by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, Iranian mountaineer Elnaz Rekabi speaks to reporters at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, October 19, 2022.
(IRNA via AP)

On Tuesday, an Instagram account attributed to Rekabi described her competing without a hijab as “unintentional,” but it’s unclear if she actually wrote the post or what state she was in if she did.

According to the Associated Press, the Iranian government routinely pressures activists at home and abroad, often airing what rights groups describe as forced confessions on state television.

It was also reported that fans and Farsi-language media outside Iran expressed concern for Rekabi’s safety after Sunday’s competition.

US SANCTIONS IRAN OFFICIALS AND MORALS POLICE FOR DEATH OF MAHSA AMINI

Inside the airport, Rekabi was caught on state television cameras entering an airport terminal wearing a black baseball cap and a black hoodie covering her hair.

After receiving flowers from a viewer, she said not wearing the hijab was “unintentional”, similar to the Instagram post, and her trip back to Iran went as planned. She added that she was in a women-only waiting area before her event.

Women carry pictures during a protest against the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in Iran, in the Kurdish-controlled town of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, September 26, 2022.

Women carry pictures during a protest against the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in Iran, in the Kurdish-controlled town of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, September 26, 2022.
(Reuters/Orhan Qereman)

“Because I was busy putting on my shoes and gear, it made me forget to put on my hijab and then I went to the competition,” she told reporters.

She added, “I came back to Iran with a peace of mind, although I had a lot of tension and stress. But so far, thank God, nothing has happened.”

IRAN RIOT POLICE SEXUALLY ASSAULT WOMEN IN PUBLIC DURING PROTESTS NEAR ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY

Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi competes in the women's Boulder Lead final during the IFSC Asian Climbing Championships in Seoul on Sunday, October 16, 2022.

Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi competes in the women’s Boulder Lead final during the IFSC Asian Climbing Championships in Seoul on Sunday, October 16, 2022.
(Rhea Khang/International Sport Climbing Federation via AP)

Rekabi left Seoul on Tuesday morning after his phone and passport were allegedly seized by Iranian officials, according to information provided to BBC Persian by an unnamed “informed source”.

The outlet also said she was originally scheduled to leave the country on Wednesday, but her flight was unexpectedly brought forward.

It was unclear where Rekabi was going from the airport, but IranWire, a website founded by Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari who was once detained by Iran, reported that the athlete should be “immediately transferred” to Evin prison in Tehran.

NOTORIOUS EVIN PRISON IN IRAN’S CAPITAL IN FLAMES AMID NATIONAL UNREST

Iran’s embassy in Seoul posted a tweet on Tuesday denying “all fake news and misinformation” regarding Rekabi’s departure. The tweet included a photo of Rekabi winning a bronze medal at a previous competition in Moscow where she wore a hijab, instead of a photo of her competing in Seoul.

In her first appearances at the week-long climbing event, Rekabi wore a hijab, according to the International Sport Climbing Federation. The controversy arose during Sunday’s final when she wore a black headband instead of a scarf.

“Our understanding is that she is returning to Iran, and we will continue to monitor the situation as it develops upon her arrival,” the federation said in a statement. “It is important to emphasize that athlete safety is paramount to us and we support all efforts to ensure the safety of a valued member of our community in this situation.”

Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi competes in the Women's Boulder Lead Final during the IFSC Asian Climbing Championships, in Seoul on Sunday, October 16, 2022.

Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi competes in the Women’s Boulder Lead Final during the IFSC Asian Climbing Championships, in Seoul on Sunday, October 16, 2022.
(Rhea Khang/International Sport Climbing Federation via AP)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The federation told The Associated Press it had been in contact with Rekabi and Iranian officials, but declined to elaborate on the substance of those calls. The federation also declined to discuss the Instagram post attributed to Rekabi and the claims it contains.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry also acknowledged the departures of Rekabi and his team without giving further details.

Danielle Wallace of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.




foxnews

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button