news 4 days ago

Iran's ban of women from soccer matches in spotlight after 'Blue Girl' dies

mlive.com — Josh Slagter mlive.com

Sept. 10--Sahar Khodayari, a 29-year-old Iranian, just wanted to watch some soccer inside the stadium.

That required dressing up as a man and sneaking in, because of her home country's rule that bans females from attending matches, one that's been in place sine 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Khodayari was discovered, arrested and detained.

After three nights in jail, Khodayari was released pending trial. Up learning she could spend up to six months in prison, Khodayari set herself on fire outside the court, and was hospitalized after 90 percent of her body was covered in burns.

She died Tuesday.

Khodayari had been on a respirator since dousing herself with gasoline in front of Tehran's Ershad courthouse on Sept. 2, according to the Iranian news website Rokna, which publishes in Iran with government permission.

"What happened to Sahar Khodayari is heart-breaking and exposes the impact of the Iranian authorities' appalling contempt for women's rights in the country," Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director, told the Associated Press.

"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."

Khodayari, known as the "Blue Girl" for the colors of Esteghlal, was wearing a blue hairpiece and a long overcoat when authorities stopped her at the stadium. Her favorite team responded to her death.

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