Violence against women is conducted systematically since 1979 Islamic Revolution. KL./FILE PHOTO

 – An Iranian woman has turned down the gold medal she won for jewellery-making at a global vocational skills contest in protest at the oppression of women at home, a human rights activist said on Thursday and raised concerns about her safety.

The protest in Geneva follows unrest ignited by the death last month of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran‘s morality police. The incident has sparked one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

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Taimoor Aliassi, representative to the United Nations of the Kurdistan Human Rights Association-Geneva (KMMK-G) human rights group, said the protest by Raziyeh Jalili occurred on Monday at the WorldSkills contest as she was being awarded her medal.

He said she made a statement in broken English about what she said was repression of women in Iran and left her gold medal on the podium. She was then escorted by her delegation back to her hotel, he said.

Aliassi called Geneva police to alert them to the potential danger she could face on return to Iran, confirming an account of the incident he had earlier given to Swiss TV.

TV cited Geneva prosecutors as saying police had questioned the woman to make sure she could move freely and that she had confirmed this and expressed her wish to join the Iranian delegation.

TV quoted organisers as saying they had granted the woman’s request to say a few words, thinking she wanted to express her thanks. Organisers decided not to show video of her protest because they thought it “safer” not to communicate her remarks.

Aliassi said she had since returned to Iran and said he had asked colleagues in Iran to check up on her but was in the dark about her status. “I am really scared about her fate now,” he said.

The Iranian foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment. Reuters has sought comment from organisers of the WorldSkills event.

Iran has accused countries who have expressed support for the protests of meddling in its internal affairs. Iran‘s religious leaders have tried to portray the unrest as part of a breakaway uprising by the Kurdish minority threatening the nation’s unity, rather than a protest against clerical rule.

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(Reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich; Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai; Editing by Alison Williams)

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