Concerns are mounting for an Iranian climber who took half in a global competitors with no hijab.
Elnaz Rekabi, 33, may have been compelled to go away the Asian Championships in South Korea early and faces being arrested and instantly transferred to jail when she returns residence, in response to experiences denied by Tehran.
Wearing a hijab is necessary for girls in Iran – a rule which has sparked rising demonstrations over the past month.
The Iranian Embassy in South Korea stated Rekabi left Seoul on a flight on Tuesday morning.
However, her passport and cell phone are believed to have been seized, an “informed source” is claimed to have instructed journalists.
Her flight is claimed to have been unexpectedly pushed ahead from Wednesday, in response to the BBC’s Persian service.
According to the Associated Press, an Instagram story on Rekabi’s account stated: “I apologise about what I did to make you worry.”
The submit additionally described her as “unintentionally” not carrying her hijab and claimed she was “rushed” – though she seems relaxed in footage.
The Instagram story instructed she was returning to Iran on a prearranged schedule.
But one other web site, IranWire – based by Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was as soon as detained by the Iranian regime – alleged Rekabi can be instantly transferred to the infamous Evin Prison upon her arrival.
At least eight inmates died and dozens have been injured after an enormous blaze broke out on the Tehran jail this week – the place political prisoners together with now-freed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe have been held.
The Iranian embassy dismissed “fake news and disinformation” over Rekabi’s departure in a tweet.
But it posted an image of the athlete carrying a scarf at a distinct competitors in Moscow, the place she gained a bronze medal.
The International Federation of Sport Climbing stated it’s “trying to establish the facts” over Rekabi’s departure, including: “Our understanding is that she is returning to Iran, and we will continue to monitor the situation as it develops on her arrival.”
Rekabi took half within the last of the Asia Championship in Seoul on Sunday, travelling with an 11-strong workforce together with eight athletes and three coaches.
Footage of the occasion confirmed her carrying a black headband together with her darkish hair pulled again in a ponytail.
She had worn a hijab throughout earlier appearances, the Korea Alpine Federation in Seoul stated.
There are not any guidelines requiring feminine athletes to put on head scarves, nevertheless Iranian girls competing overseas all the time put on a hijab.
South Korea’s Justice Ministry stated privacy-related laws meant it couldn’t touch upon whether or not Rekabi continues to be within the nation.
She has beforehand claimed one silver and two bronze medals within the Asian Championships.
Fears over her whereabouts come as violent protests sparked by the loss of life of Mahsa Amini continued for a fifth week.
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The 22-year-old was detained by the morality police for not carrying a hijab accurately and died in custody in September, resulting in worldwide anger towards the Iranian regime.
Children are among the many dozens of people that have died within the demonstrations.