Seoul, Oct 18 (EFE).- Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi, who made headlines around the world when she represented her country without wearing a hijab in South Korea at the weekend, was on a plane to Tehran on Tuesday, officials said.
The news comes a day after the BBC reported that Rekabi’s passport and mobile phone were seized and that her friends had been unable to contact her since Sunday.
The team was not yet due to return to Iran, it added.
“Ms. Elnaz REKABI, departed from Seoul to Iran, early morning of October 18, 2022, along with the other members of the team,” Iran’s embassy in Seoul tweeted Tuesday.
It also appeared to address concerns that she has gone missing or has been detained amid fears of repercussions from the regime for not wearing a hijab, which is mandatory for women both in the country and when representing Iran overseas.
“The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in South Korea strongly denies all the fake, false news and disinformation regarding Ms. Elnaz REKABI,” it said.
At the weekend, Rekabi represented Iran in the 2022 IFSC Climbing Asian Championship in Seoul.
Images of her scaling a wall with her hair tied back into a ponytail went viral on social media.
Her decision has been widely interpreted as a show of solidarity with her compatriots who for the past month have been protesting around the country following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police for wearing her hijab incorrectly, violating the regime’s strict dress code for women. EFE