Monday, 06 April, 2020


Iranian fan ‘Blue Girl’ dies after setting herself on fire

Iranian fan ‘Blue Girl’ dies after setting herself on fire Iranian fan ‘Blue Girl’ dies after setting herself on fire
Noah Ferguson | 10 September, 2019, 22:22

Sahar Khodayari died at a Tehran hospital on Monday, according to the Shafaghna news agency.

The death of Iranian woman who set herself on fire in protest against the ban on women entering the country's football stadium has prompted an outcry against the country's draconian law.

She then set herself alight in front of the court house and later died in hospital.

Last October, authorities in Iran allowed a select group of women into Azadi stadium to watch a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, in Tehran, Iran.

Authorities arrested her and sent her to a notoriously squalid prison for women that was once a chicken farm.

Dubbed "blue girl" because of Esteghlal's colours, she set herself on fire outside the court last week after hearing someone there say she would be going to prison for six months, it said.

"This discriminatory ban must end immediately and the worldwide community, including football's world governing body, FIFA, and the Asian Football Confederation, must take urgent action to end the ban and to ensure that women are allowed access to all sports stadiums without discrimination or risk of prosecution or punishment", he said.

The woman, referred to as Sahar, which is not her real name, was arrested in March when she tried to enter a football stadium.

"The women of our land are better than men", he wrote alongside an image of a woman with a football for a heart and flames over her head.

Iranian fan ‘Blue Girl’ dies after setting herself on fire

The judiciary's Mizan Online website said on Tuesday that no sentence had been issued since there had been no trial and the judge was away on holiday.

"The tragic death of our beloved child, Ms. Sahar Khodayari, has caused much sadness and regret for Esteghlal FC", it said in a statement.

"Her death must not be in vain".

No verdict had been delivered in her case by the time of her death. Although Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said he is in favor of lifting the ban, he has not been able to change the rule due to resistance from Iran's clergy. The judiciary's news website said Khodayari's body had been handed over to her family, who live in Qom, south of Tehran.

Amnesty International separately said that as far as it knows, "Iran is the only country in the world that stops and punishes women" seeking to enter soccer stadiums.

The stadium ban has not been written into law or regulation, but it has been performed by this Asian country.

Iranian women wait behind the gates of Tehran's Azadi Stadium trying to convince security officers to let them in, November 10, 2018.

Women have been interdicted from watching men's football in the strict Muslim theocracy and it's no different with Iran.

While a small number of Iranian women have attended select global matches on previous occasions, others have faced prosecution for entering stadiums at other times.

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