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Iranian woman kills self after being denied entry to football stadium

News Agencies | Updated on: 11 September 2019, 9:25 IST
Iranian woman

Iranian woman, Sahar Khodayari, who was denied entry to football stadium has passed away after setting herself on fire, human rights organisation Amnesty International confirmed.

The 29-year-old Khodayari earlier faced charges of "appearing in public without a hijab" when she attempted to enter the stadium "dressed as a man" in March.

"What happened to Sahar Khodayari is heartbreaking. Her only 'crime' was being a woman in a country where women face discrimination that is entrenched in law and plays out in the most horrific ways imaginable in every area of their lives, even sports," Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East Research and Advocacy Director, said in an official statement.

"To our knowledge, Iran is the only country in the world that stops and punishes women seeking to enter football stadiums," he added.

Women are not allowed to watch football matches in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution however they can watch other sports like volleyball.

Khodayari, had appeared in a Tehran court last week, where the case was adjourned. She then poured gasoline on herself and lit herself on fire fearing the worst possible verdict.

Italian football club AS Roma tweeted to show grief over the death of Khodayari.

#ASRoma is yellow & red but today our heart bleeds blue for Sahar Khodayari. The beautiful game is meant to unite us, not divide us - that's why we set up @ASRoma_Persian last year. Now it's time for everyone in Iran to be allowed to enjoy football matches together. RIP #BlueGirl," AS Roma tweeted.

The human rights organisation and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have both called upon FIFA to look into the matter and end the ban imposed on women in the country.

"Sahar's tragic arrest, jailing, and suicide attempt underscore the need for Iran to end its ban on women attending sports matches -- and the urgency for regulating bodies like FIFA to enforce its own human rights rules," HRW had said in a statement before the death of Khodayari.

Ever since the incident, Khodayari got dubbed as the "Blue Girl" on social media after the colours of her favourite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal.


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First published: 11 September 2019, 9:25 IST