Iran’s minister of sports has threatened to confiscate land owned by Elnaz Rekabi’s family if she talks to the media or leaves the country, IranWire reports, after the Iranian climber sparked a controversy by competing in South Korea without a headscarf.
A source told IranWire that Rekabi did not go to her home in Tehran or visit her family in Zanjan since arriving in the Iranian capital on Wednesday, 19 October.
"Her family does not know exactly where she is either. We only know that she was detained in one of the rooms of the Olympic Hotel on the first day" of her arrival, the source told IranWire.
The source, which previously said that her brother Davoud was summoned by the security agencies, added that he “still does not answer the phone calls of those around him."
In an Instagram post late on Thursday, 20 October, he thanked his sister's friends and fans for their support.
Rekabi, 33, made headlines on Sunday, 16 October, when she competed at the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asia Championship in Seoul without her state-mandated headscarf.
Upon her return to Tehran, she appeared before state television cameras wearing a hat and hoodie instead of a headscarf. She repeated what had previously been said in a post published on her Instagram account -- that she had "accidentally forgotten the mandatory hijab.
Before heading to Seoul, Rekabi was forced to hand over a $35,000 cheque and grant full power of attorney to Iran’s climbing federation to sell her family's property, the BBC reported.
"The National Olympic Committee and also the minister of sports told [Rekabi] that if she leaves the country, gives an interview with the media or starts sensitive activities on his social pages, her family’s land would be confiscated," the source told IranWire, adding that the family’s property was worth $300,000.
In 2019, Iran’s Ministry of Sports and Youth required athletes to hand over a $30,000 cheque before traveling abroad to compete in international competitions to guarantee they will come back.