Iranian Woman Banned from Stadiums Commits Suicide by Setting Herself on Fire

Published September 10th, 2019 - 06:53 GMT
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch

Sahar Khodayari received a 6 month jail term for ‘wearing improper hijab’ after sneaking into a football stadium in Iran.

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The persecuted female football fan passed away in the hospital one week after she set herself on fire in protest in front of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Since 1981, Iran has banned female spectators from football and other stadiums. As a consequence, some women dress as men to access matches, posting photos on social media in protest, and others demonstrate in front of stadiums. This August, Iranian authorities arrested four women, including one award-winning photojournalist, for flouting the stadium ban.

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. 

On the day of the suicide attempt, Sahar apparently learned from judicial authorities that she would have to serve 6 months in prison. She set herself on fire outside the court. Due to this incident and countless others, activists are urging FIFA to uphold its own human rights rules, end gender discrimination, and punish violators.


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