New Delhi: An Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi, who competed at the Asian Sport Climbing Championships in Seoul, South Korea on Sunday defying the Islamic Republic’s restrictions has disappeared, according to a BBC report. Sources close to Rekabi told the BBB’s Persian service that they had been unable to contact her since Monday night. Rekabi along with other Iranian athletes left the Garden Seoul Hotel on Monday morning and was about to return to Iran on Wednesday, according to the report.
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The athlete’s video during the competition without wearing a headscarf has also gone viral. In a historic move, the Iranian climber can be seen taking part in an international competition without a hijab.
In a historic move, Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi who represented Iran at the Asian Climbing Competitions finals in Seoul, competed without hijab, disobeying the Islamic Republic’s restrictions for female athletes. pic.twitter.com/KvxE5NoQLi
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) October 16, 2022
BBC presenter Rana Rahimpour on Tuesday tweeted about the athlete boarding a plane for the Iranian capital of Tehran. “There are concerns about her safety,” Rahimpour wrote.
Update: we have found out that Elnaz Rakebi is on a plane heading to #Tehran, two days earlier than planned. There are concerns about her safety. #Iran #MahsaAmini https://t.co/tXeMZN3Jqz
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) October 17, 2022
Meanwhile, the Iranian embassy in Seoul on Tuesday said Rekabi “departed from Seoul to Iran, early morning of October 18, 2022, along with the other members of the Team.” The tweet further read that the embassy “strongly denies all the fake, false news and disinformation regarding Elnaz Rekabi.”
Ms. Elnaz REKABI, departed from Seoul to Iran, early morning of October 18, 2022, along with the other members of the Team. The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in South Korea strongly denies all the fake, false news and disinformation regarding Ms. Elnaz REKABI. pic.twitter.com/053pFWs96m
— Iran embassy in Seoul (@IraninSKorea) October 18, 2022
The report comes amid massive protests that rocked Iran following the death of a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the morality police in September.
Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman died in the custody of the morality police of Iran after being arrested for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women. She died three days after falling into a coma following her arrest in Tehran.
According to an Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group, over 100 people have died since the protests began in September. During demonstrations, women burnt their headscarves and cut their hair.