The family home of Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi has been demolished, according to pro-reform news outlet IranWire, after she rose to international prominence this fall for competing bare-headed.
Rekabi competed without her hijab in South Korea in October, just as anti-regime protests swept Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody. moral police for allegedly not wearing the hijab properly.
Some Iranian protesters saw Rekabi as a symbol of the national uprising calling for more freedoms for women. However, human rights groups expressed fear for his safety when he returned to Tehran.
Images obtained by CNN from IranWire show a destroyed structure and medals on the ground. The man filming the video clip describes what happened in the house. The video clip also shows Rekabi’s brother Davood crying. Davood Rekabi is a champion sport climber with ten gold medals to his name, according to IranWire.
The man filming the footage – whose identity is not known – says off camera: “This is the result of living in this country. Champion of a country with kilos of medals for this country. We have worked hard to make this country proud. They pepper-sprayed him and demolished a 39-square-meter house and left. What can I say?”
It is unclear when the demolition occurred.
CNN cannot independently confirm whether Rekabi’s family home was destroyed on government orders. Neither the authorities nor the state-aligned media have publicly commented on the situation.
Images of Rekabi 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 on social media appeared to show her being greeted by a crowd chanting “Elnaz the hero” at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.
The climber wrote later that week on his Instagram account: “I am infinitely grateful for the support from you, all the people of Iran, the most decent people on the planet, athletes and non-athletes, and all the your support to [the] international community”.
Rekabi has suggested, both on her Instagram account and in interviews with state media IRNA, that she had only “accidentally” competed without the hijab, which Iran requires women to represent the country abroad.
However, it is unclear whether Rekabi’s comments were made under duress.