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Fears for Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi

An Iranian climber who attended an international competition in South Korea without a hijab has been out of touch since Sunday, a friend told the BBC’s Persian-language service.

The BBC also cited “ample sources” that Ernaz Rekavi’s passport and mobile phone had been confiscated.

BBC World Service presenter Rana Rahinpur tweeted on Tuesday morning that Rekavi was on a flight to Tehran and that she was “concerned for her safety”.

She participated in the Rekavi Asian Championships. She reached out to the organizer, the International Sport Climbing Federation, for comment. Youth protests in Iran are fueling unrest among political elite
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Online news site Iran Her Wire reported that Rekhabi was taken to the Iranian embassy in Seoul and allowed to return home after minimal screening.

Small dissident website Iran Wire said, citing sources, that Rekabi will return to Tehran a day earlier than planned on Tuesday to deter possible protests at Imam Khomeini International Airport. rice field.

The Guardian was unable to confirm the report.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the Iranian embassy in Seoul said Rekhabi “left Seoul for Iran in the early hours of October 18, 2022, along with other members of the team.”

Iran has been embroiled in deadly protests after Mahsa Amini died in police custody last month. The 22-year-old was arrested by the country’s “ethics police” for not wearing the hijab properly.

Last year, Rekavi became the first Iranian to win a medal at the World Sport Climbing Championships. At the competition in South Korea last weekend, she came in fourth. A video clip of her showed her climbing a wall with her hair tied into a ponytail during her event.

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Rekhabi, who posted a photo of herself exercising while wearing a headscarf on her Instagram, openly opposed Iran’s strict Islamic law requiring women to cover their heads, saying she is believed to be her second Iranian athlete to compete.

Sadaf Khadem, a boxer, won a match outside of Iran for the first time since the Islamic revolution in 2019. Following the fight, Khadem made the decision to stay in France because Iranian officials reportedly issued an arrest warrant for her due to the fact that she had boxed in shorts and without a hat.

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