Elnaz Rekabi, from a forced interview to a heroic welcome in Iran | Atalayar

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Elnaz Rekabi, the historic young Iranian climber, returned to Tehran on Wednesday morning to the cheers of the Iranian people who came to the Khomeini airport terminal to welcome her. As Qatar Airways reports, the Iranian competitor landed at 3:40 a.m. local time, where she was greeted by a large crowd that Iranian media said were there to prevent the athlete’s arrest.

Once landed, the athlete, after being cheered by the Iranian people, according to various Iranian media who were there, was surrounded by a van belonging to the Athletes’ Committee. (it should be noted that she only came back) and two “journalists” from the state television IRNA questioned her about what had happened. She was clearly nervous and came under pressure from reporters as she simply repeated what they asked her in seemingly scripted dialogue. She referenced in her Insta story that it was all an accident.

One of them asked him if the public had taken advantage of the mistake that had happened to him. She agrees. The other says that rumors spread that she disappeared. She says she is very well and came back from Seoul as planned. With this “interview”, which is a public confession, they want to humiliate him, scare him and his family (his brother was arrested) and show others how they will cope if they dare such shares abroad.

PHOTO/IRNA via AP – Rekabi, 33, in his first comment since the October 16 event, apologized on Instagram for the “concern” caused and insisted his bare-headed appearance was “unintentional”.

Elnaz Rekabi had participated in the South Korean games without the compulsory Islamic hijab. At the end of this tournament, there was no information about her. The circle closest to her informed IranWire that Reza Zarei, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mountaineering Federation (IFSC), after confiscating the passport and mobile phone of Elnaz Rekabi, the had taken to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Seoul for a final. return to Iran. The Iranian Embassy in South Korea, on its Twitter account, denied reports of his disappearance after the competition. Iranian officials denied what they called “fake news, lies and false information” about him.

On Tuesday, when there had been no news from Elnaz Rekabi for hours, a text similar to “forced confessions” was posted on his Instagram page in La République alleging that “there was a bad planning and I was called upon to climb unpredictably”. This information contrasts with a person close to the athlete who told IranWire that Elnaz decided to compete without the hijab a month ago. She added that she feared for the physical safety of her husband, who lives in Iran, so she decided not to seek asylum in Seoul.

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PHOTO/AFP/UGC – This still taken from UGC video available on the ESN platform on October 19, 2022 shows people reacting as they gather at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran to welcome Elnaz Rekabi, an Iranian climber who caused a stir by participating at an event abroad without a hijab

BBC journalist Rana Rahimpour explained that the language used in this message appears to have been written under pressure. The post was later removed from the social network. Rahimpour said Iranian women who have experienced the same situation of not wearing the veil in sports competitions have been pressured by authorities to issue public apologies for violating Islamic morality.

The fear and anxiety over Rekabi’s condition is real. Duped by the Iranian embassy, ​​the athlete was promised to be sent back to her country of origin without consequences if she showed up at the embassy. BBC Persian Service reported Monday, October 17, 2022 that the athlete’s mobile phone and passport were confiscated upon his arrival in Iran after taking part in the sporting event. His departure from the hotel in Seoul took place two days before the stipulated date.

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AFP PHOTO/HO/International Sports Climbing Federation – A photo provided by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) shows Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi competing in the women’s bouldering final of the IFSC Asian Championships in Seoul, South Korea.

Now, after his arrest, Rekabi will be sent directly to Evin prison, according to IranWire. Evin, in Tehran, is the prison where the Islamic Republic incarcerates its political prisoners and it is the prison which burned down last weekend in circumstances which remain unclear. According to Iranian authorities, eight people died from smoke inhalation in the fire. Among the political prisoners held in Evin are two Iranian businessmen of American nationality, Siamak Namazi and Emad Sharghi, accused of espionage. The Biden administration is closely monitoring developments.

Meanwhile, violence and repression of protests continue in Iran a month after they began. Independent estimates put the death toll at more than 230, although the figure could be higher: the Iranian authorities do not give an exact figure, and they are human rights organizations in exile in the outside the country who are trying to count the number of deaths, which continues to increase. regularly.

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