Iranian woman dies a week after setting herself on fire because she was caught trying to sneak into a football match dressed as a man

أخر تحديث : mardi 10 septembre 2019 - 8:59
Iranian woman dies a week after setting herself on fire because she was caught trying to sneak into a football match dressed as a man

An Iranian women’s rights activist who set herself on fire outside court to protest a six month jail sentence for trying to attend a football match has died

Sahar Khodayari, 30, suffered burns to 90 per cent of her body after setting light to herself outside a court in Tehran last week when she learned that she may have to go to jail for trying to attend a men’s football match back in March

She was rushed to hospital but died of her injuries in the early hours of Monday, according to local media

Iranian women were banned from attending men’s football matches in the country in the wake of the Islamic revolution in 1979

Sahar was arrested trying to sneak into a football match dressed as a man back in March, before setting herself alight outside this courtroom last week when she learned she could be jailed for six months 

Sahar was first arrested in March this year at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium while trying to attend a match between her favourite team Esteghlal and Al Ain, a team from the United Arab Emirates

She had tried to sneak into the stadium dressed as a man, her sister previously told Iranian media, but admitted she was a woman when security tried to search her

Sahar was arrested and taken to jail before being released

She was charged with ‘improperly wearing a hijab’ and insulting police, and appeared in court early last week when she learned of the potential sentence

She then set herself alight outside the court. No sentence had been passed

The case garnered national attention with Sahar dubbed ‘Blue Girl’ on social media in reference to the colour of her team’s kit

Her sister said that Sahar suffered from biopolar and had attempted suicide once before. Her condition worsened again after she was taken to jail, her sister said

Activists are calling for Iran to completely remove the ban on women attending games, which has been enforced since the Islamic revolution of 1979 

On Monday, Sahar’s father confirmed her bipolar diagnosis and revealed that his daughter had dreamed of becoming a police officer but was told she would be unable to because she was a woman

She then went to university where she earned two bachelor’s degrees in computing and languages, and was still studying at the time of her death

He confirmed that he had four children – two sons and two daughters – but none of them were into football except Sahar

Activists are now calling for the ban on women attending men’s matches to be lifted

Iran has come under pressure from FIFA in recent years to allow women to attend games, as the governing body’s constitution officially bans team from discriminating on the basis of gender

As a result, Iran says women will be able to attend qualifying games for the 2022 World Cup which are due to take place in October

However, activists say allowing women into showpiece games is not enough and the ban should be lifted on all matches


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