Elnaz Rekabi: Iranian athlete’s family home demolished by officials, media outlet says


The family home of Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi has been demolished, according to pro-reform news outlet Iranwire, after she rose to international prominence this fall for competing with her head uncovered.

Anti-regime protests in Iran followed the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who competed in South Korea in October without her hijab, while in custody by morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab.

Some Iranian demonstrators called Recabi a symbol of a national uprising calling for greater freedom for women. However, human rights groups expressed fears for her safety when she returned to Tehran.

Rekabi competed in the international competition in Seoul in October without her mandatory hijab, as anti-regime demonstrations calling for more rights for women shocked Iran.

Footage obtained by CNN from IranWire shows the destroyed structure and medals on the ground. The man filming the video clip explains what happened to the house. The video clip also shows Rekabi’s brother Dawood crying. According to Iranwire, Dawood Rekabi is the sports climber champion with ten gold medals.

The man filming the scenes – whose identity is unknown – says off camera, “This is the result of living in this country. A national champion with tons of medals for this country. He has worked hard to make this country proud. He sprayed chillies and demolished a 39 square meter house. What can I say?”

It is not clear when it was demolished.

CNN could not independently confirm whether Recabi’s family home was destroyed by government order. Neither the authorities nor state-aligned media have publicly commented on the situation.

Rekabi received support from the public when he returned to Tehran in October.

Footage of Recabi wearing a headband with her hair in a ponytail while competing in Seoul went viral on social media and made international headlines. When she returned to Iran, videos posted to social media appeared to show her being greeted by crowds chanting “Elnaz the hero” at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.

The climber wrote on his Instagram account later that week, “I am infinitely grateful for your support, all the people of Iran, the most worthy people on the planet, athletes and non-athletes, and all of you. [the] international community.”

Rekabi has suggested – on her Instagram account and in interviews with state media IRNA – that she “accidentally” competed without her hijab, which Iran mandates that women representing the country abroad wear.

However, it is unclear whether Recabi’s comments were coerced.


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