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Iranian Climber Elnaz Rekabi Raises Concerns After Competing Without Hijab

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Iranian Climber Elnaz Rekabi Raises Concerns After Competing Without a Hijab

(CTN News) – After Iranian groups based abroad raised alarms over her fate, Elnaz Rekabi Iranian climber who did not wear a hijab left for Iran on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Elnaz Rekabi, 33, competed without a hijab during the Asian Championships of the International Federation of Sport Climbing. Social media spread videos of her wearing a headband with her hair in a ponytail.

On Tuesday, Rekabi posted a story on her Instagram page about being called to climb a wall “unexpectedly” which “unintentionally” caused a problem with her hair.

“I accidentally ruined my head covering due to faulty timing and being called to climb the wall,” she wrote.

When representing Iran abroad, women have to wear a hijab.

IranWire, a website critical of the Iranian regime, said Rekabi would be sent to prison upon her arrival, making rights groups worry.

The prospect of Rekabi’s return alarmed Amnesty International on Monday.

Elnaz Rekabi shouldn’t be sent back to Iran, Amnesty International said in a statement, adding that she’s at risk of torture and other ill-treatment for violating the authorities’ compulsory veiling laws.

As reported by the Iranian embassy in Seoul, Rekabi left on Tuesday with “other members of the team” and “strongly denied all the fake, false news and disinformation.”

A picture of Rekabi wearing a hijab was posted on Twitter by the embassy.

According to a statement from South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, all members of the Iranian delegation, including Elnaz Rekabi, have already left Korea.

When representing Iran abroad, women have to wear a hijab.

AP photo/Rhea Kang

“The punishment has already begun,” said Mahmood Reza Amiry-Moghaddam, director of Iran Human Rights.

The fact that she was incommunicado for a day…and then only posted one message on Instagram. “I think no one believes what the Iranian authorities say,” he said. “The pressure on her started already from South Korea.”

Rekabi is returning to Iran, according to the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC).

“There’s a lot of information out there about Elnaz Rekabi, and we’ve been trying to establish the facts.” The IFSC has also contacted Rekabi and the Iranian Climbing Federation.

Upon her arrival, we’ll monitor the situation.

Answering an inquiry, the South Korean government said it couldn’t reveal details about a person’s departure.

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