The family home of an Iranian rock climber who competed in an overseas competition without her headscarf, has been reportedly destroyed by the government.
In an undated video, the brother of Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi, who is also an athlete, can be seen sobbing by the ruins of a home, with sports medals on the ground.
Elnaz Rekabi and her brother Davoud were both reportedly arrested following Ms. Rekabi’s return to Iran after the tournament in South Korea in October in which she competed without a headscarf.
After arriving at the Imam Khomeini International Airport outside of Tehran, she repeated the explanation posted earlier to Instagram that described her not wearing a hijab as ‘unintentional.’
Many believe the athlete’s move was a sign of solidarity for the nationwide protests in her homeland sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.
Video shared online showed large crowds gathered to greet her at the airport, with fans offering cheers.
She walked into one of the airport’s terminals, filmed by state media and wearing a black baseball cap and a black hoodie covering her hair.
“Because I was busy putting on my shoes and my gear, it caused me to forget to put on my hijab and then I went to compete,” she said to state media reporters.
She added: “I came back to Iran with peace of mind, although I had a lot of tension and stress. But so far, thank God, nothing has happened.”
She continued: “I returned to Iran peacefully, in perfect health and according to the predetermined plan. I apologize to the people of Iran because of the tensions created,” she said, adding she had “no plan to say goodbye to the national team.”
Outside, she appeared to enter a van and was driven through the gathered crowds, who cheered her. It wasn’t clear where she went after that.
Following her alleged disappearance and arrest following her return from Seoul, a source told IranWire: “Elnaz made her decision to appear without a hijab around a month ago and knew that she was going to compete without the mandatory hijab.
“She did not seek asylum either because her husband is in Iran, and she wanted to return after the competition. She always makes such bold decisions.”
Reza Zarei, the head of Iran’s Climbing Federation, allegedly tricked her into the Iranian embassy in Seoul after receiving orders from Mohammad Khosravivafa, Iran’s Olympic Committee chairman.
Khosravivafa had in turn received orders from the Revolutionary Guards Corps, and promised her safe return to Iran to lure her into the embassy building.