9 - NOV 2022
We need to urge governments, UN agencies and anyone with any sort of platform so that we can keep spreading awareness.
Iran is going through one of the biggest human rights revolutions right now. If you’ve read my article on the courageous actions of the people in Iran, you’d know that brave women have been protesting for the end of a tyrannical mandate. Protests were sparked by outrage of Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of Iran’s morality police for improperly wearing a hijab.
Elnaz Rakibi is a 33 year old woman from Zanjan, Iran. She’s a professional rock climber who represented Iran at the IFSC Asian Championships in Seoul, Korea on Sunday October 16, 2022. She was the very embodiment of bravery when she competed without a mandatory hijab during the competition in Seoul.
Rakibi has previously made comments about wearing hijabs during competitions, noting that it does inhibit your body’s need to evacuate heat whilst competing and can be a diminishing factor to competition, but is required by Iran’s enforcement of Islamic law. As Rekabi has always trained and competed whilst wearing a hijab, this is one of the only acts of Iranian female athletes defying Iran’s laws requiring the wearing of a hijab.
The other act was from a boxer Sadaf Khadem who fought in France, and opted to remain in France after the fight despite Iranian authorities issuing a warrant for her arrest due to the fact that she had competed without her hijab (in braids) and was wearing shorts (also not allowed).
Brave women have been protesting for the end of a tyrannical mandate
When Rekabi was set to leave Seoul and board a plane, but people had noted that she was at the airport two days earlier than originally planned for her itinerary which sparked significant concerns amongst the public as to her well-being, especially in the wake of her recent competition. Friends were concerned as they were unable to contact the athlete since Sunday despite the Iranian embassy alleging that she had already returned home with the rest of her climbing teammates. It was then confirmed that upon leaving Seoul, her phone and passport were confiscated by authorities. Since then, she was declared to have gone missing with friends and family not seeing her.
The official comment from the Iranian embassy in Seoul was that Rekabi had “departed from Seoul to Tehran, early morning of October 18 2022, along with the other members of the team”.
Rekabi’s disappearance has only added to the turbulence of this very revolution. In an exclusive report by IranWire, they have confirmed that Rakibi was directly transferred to Evin Prison from Tehran airport. A well-informed source confirms that the head of Iran’s Climbing Federation Reza Zarei tricked her into the Iranian embassy building in Seoul upon orders from the Iranian Government, who then transferred her to the airport, changing her flights and promising safe travel back home if she handed over her phone and her passport. The motivation behind the flight time change was to avoid any crowds or people gathering in support of the brave act, particularly given the current momentum with the anti-mandate protests.
Rekabi has now returned to Iran, and her Instagram posted an apology for triggering concerns noting that her decision to climb without the hijab on Sunday was actually accidental as she was unexpectedly called up early, however many people believe she was coerced into this response. Regardless, this is a reminder that we can’t forget what the people of Iran are fighting for and a reminder to amplify their voices and their stories.
In addition, as of 8/11,227 members of the 290-seat Parliament of Iran have called on the Judiciary to issue death sentences for people arrested during the ongoing anti-government protests. The ramification of this? Well this means that they are urging the judiciary to sentence 14,800+ INNOCENT people who have done nothing but stand up against an oppressive system. This is genocide.
We need to urge governments, UN agencies and anyone with any sort of platform so that we can keep spreading awareness to stop this mass death-sentence that they are intending against their own people