A feminine Iranian rock climber, who didn’t put on a hijab at a global competitors in South Korea, has returned to Iran as Iranian teams primarily based overseas raised alarms over her destiny again dwelling.
Elnaz Rekabi, 33, competed with no hijab throughout the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asian Championships in Seoul on Sunday. Videos of her sporting a headscarf along with her hair in a ponytail whereas competing unfold on social media.
Rekabi arrived in Tehran early on Wednesday morning, state media IRNA reported. Videos posted to social media present her arriving on the capital’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. She was additionally seen chatting with media.
More movies posted to social media appeared to indicate crowds gathered each inside and out of doors of the airport, chanting “Elnaz the hero.”
It is unclear whether or not Rekabi is underneath detention or if she is going to face repercussions.
Her return to Iran comes amid nationwide protests within the nation calling for higher freedoms for ladies, following the demise of a 22-yr-outdated lady who died in police custody after her arrest for allegedly sporting her hijab improperly.
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In a narrative posted on Rekabi’s Instagram web page on Tuesday, the athlete mentioned she was referred to as to climb the wall “unexpectedly” which “unintentionally” created an issue along with her hair overlaying.
“Due to bad timing and unexpectedly being called to climb the wall, I inadvertently created a problem with my head covering,” she wrote.
“Apologizing for the worries that I caused … currently, according to the pre-determined schedule I am returning to Iran with the team,” the IG story submit mentioned.
She reiterated that she had “accidentally” competed with no jihab in an interview with state media IRNA on her arrival in Tehran on Wednesday.
“Regarding this topic, as I already explained on my social media stories – it totally happened accidentally,” Rekabi mentioned, when requested by the interviewer in regards to the incident.
“I was unexpectedly called upon and I attended the competition. I somehow got busy with the equipment, and it made me negligent to the hijab,” she continued.
Iran mandates ladies put on a hijab when formally representing the nation overseas.
In an interview Tuesday, earlier than the climber arrived again in Tehran, her brother Davoud Rekabi instructed state-aligned Tasmin information company that his sister would “always play wearing the national team’s uniform.”
“My sister had a hijab but was wearing a headband and unfortunately some people [took advantage] of this issue,” he mentioned.
“My sister is a child of Iran, and she will always play wearing the national team’s uniform. Elnaz belongs to this land, and she will always play for this country,” he continued.
It is unclear whether or not his feedback have been made underneath duress.
A information web site vital of the Iranian regime, IranWire, alleged that Rekabi might be transferred to jail upon arrival, prompting rights teams to fret about what would occur to her.
Amnesty International mentioned Monday it was alarmed by the prospect of Rekabi’s return.
“Elnaz Rekabi should not be forcibly returned to Iran,” Amnesty mentioned in an announcement, including that “she is at real risk of arbitrary arrest, torture, and other ill-treatment for violating the authorities’ compulsory veiling rules,” Amnesty wrote.
CNN can’t independently confirm stories of Rekabi being compelled to return to Iran.
The Iranian embassy in Seoul mentioned that Rekabi departed on Tuesday together with “other members of the team” and “strongly denied all the fake, false news and disinformation.”
In the Twitter submit, the embassy posted an image of Rekabi from earlier video games in Russia the place she was competing sporting the hijab.
“It is understood that all members of the Iranian delegation including Elnaz Rekabi have already left Korea after attending the sport event,” South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Ministry instructed CNN in an announcement.
“The punishment has already started,” director of Norway-based rights group Iran Human Rights Mahmood Reza Amiry-Moghaddam instructed CNN on Tuesday.
“You know, the fact that she was incommunicado for one full day…and then she just wrote this one message on her Instagram. So, the pressure on her started already from South Korea,” he mentioned, “I don’t think anyone believes in what Iranian authorities say.”
The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) mentioned it’s “fully aware of news” relating to Rekabi and it’s their “understanding” that she is returning to Iran.
“There is a lot of information in the public sphere regarding Ms Rekabi and as an organisation we have been trying to establish the facts. We have also been in contact with Ms Rekabi and the Iranian Climbing Federation,” an announcement by the IFSC mentioned.
“We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops on her arrival,” the assertion mentioned.
Calls positioned to 2 Iranian workforce coaches at present in Seoul weren’t answered.
Correction: an earlier model of this story incorrectly said the day Rekabi was mentioned to depart Seoul.