Reports from IranWire noted that a female Iranian athlete, Elnaz Rekabi who did not wear a hijab at an international competition will be directly transferred to Evin prison from the airport. It has been noted that Elnaz Rekabi was without a hijab when she entered the final Asian climbing competition in the South Korean capital Seoul on Sunday.
Elnaz Rekabi might face imprisonment
Elnaz Rekabi got to the final round of the weeklong annual Asian Championships and finished in fourth place on Sunday. A video of her participating in climbing without a hijab went viral on social media. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, women have been required to wear a hijab in Iran. They must also abide by the mandatory rule outside Iran when officially representing the country abroad.
Reza Zarei, the head of Iran’s Climbing Federation reportedly tricked her into the Iranian embassy building in Seoul after he received orders from Mohammad Khosravivafa, Iran’s Olympic Committee chairman. Khosravivafa received orders from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). He moved her into the embassy after promising Rekabi safe travel to Iran.
“Elnaz made her decision to appear without a hijab around a month ago and knew that she was going to compete without the mandatory hijab,” as reported by IranWire. “She did not seek asylum either because her husband is in Iran, and she wanted to return after the competition. She always makes such bold decisions.”
The team was supposed to get back to Iran, but suddenly they changed her plans,” the outlet noted.
Reza Zarei, who was previously a member of the Ministry of Information, promised Elnaz that if she handed over her passport and mobile phone, he would take her to Iran quickly, without risk and without making it public.
The outlet sources at Imam Khomeini international airport stated that Elnaz would be transferred directly from the airport to Evin Prison.
It was noted that if Elnaz Rokabi surrendered herself to the embassy of the Islamic Republic, she would have no way to escape: “We know what the embassies of the Islamic Republic do. They will take her directly to the airport and return her to Iran.”
Elnaz Rekabi’s early return prevents people from gathering outside the airport: “People think that Elnaz will return with the team on Wednesday, but she is supposed to be returned to Iran a day earlier. We hope she can rescue herself at Seoul airport.”
Hijab is also mandatory for Iranian women in sports competitions. For the past month, people in Iran have been protesting against the hijab after the death of a young woman who was allegedly not wearing a hijab.