A former member of Iran’s women's national handball team says she has been banned from leaving the country, amid a fierce crackdown by the Islamic Republic on nationwide protests demanding more freedoms and women’s rights.
Razeih Janbaj has recently published pictures of herself on her Instagram page without a hijab and voiced support for the ongoing demonstrations.
"I am banned to go out of Iran," Janbaj wrote on Instagram on February 15.
"I came back from everywhere I went and said I belong to this land...it is strange that being a protester means being a criminal," she added.
All women in Iran must conceal their hair with a headscarf, or hijab, while in public and wear loose fitting trousers under their coats.
In an act of defiance against the ideology and laws of the Islamic Republic, a growing number of women, including celebrities, have appeared in public without head coverings since the eruption of the protest movement five months ago.
Iranian authorities have unleashed a brutal crackdown on the anti-government demonstrations sparked by the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police. Amini had been arrested for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly.
Activists say more than 520 people have been killed and over 19,000 others have been detained in connection with the protests so far.
Following unlawful detentions and biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.