Iranian woman sets herself alight after she’s accused of attending soccer match
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Iranian woman sets herself alight after she’s accused of attending soccer match

Fan, who suffered burns to 90% her body, was arrested by modesty police for entering stadium disguised as a man to watch game

A banner  supporting Iranian women in the stands during the group B match between Morocco and Iran at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A banner supporting Iranian women in the stands during the group B match between Morocco and Iran at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

A woman in Iran set herself on fire outside a Tehran courthouse, where she was facing trial for having entered a soccer stadium to watch a game in violation of Iranian laws banning women from attending, Iran’s Rokna news agency reported Wednesday.

The woman, 29, had sneaked into the game disguised as a man but was arrested and charged with breaking modesty laws.

The incident happened on September 1 when she arrived at the court for a hearing in her case.

Court papers showed she was charged with “insulting the public by defying the dress code for women.” The hearing was delayed as the judge was at a funeral, but a court official told the woman she could get up to six months in prison for her crime.

She then set herself on fire outside the complex. A doctor at the Motahari Hospital in Tehran told Rokna that the woman was in the intensive care unit, having suffered burns on 90 percent of her body caused by a gasoline fire.

Her sister told Rokna that the woman was arrested in March at the Azadi Stadium, where she had gone to watch a game between two Iranian teams.

She was detained at Qarchak prison, outside Tehran, which has previously been reported as filthy and unsafe, and later released on bail.

The woman suffers from bipolar disorder and has been undergoing treatment for the past two years, her sister said.

Women are not allowed to attend sporting events in Iran, which goes against a FIFA statute banning discrimination against women.

In August Iran arrested prominent female photojournalist Forough Alaei after she sneaked into a soccer game dressed as a man.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino spoke out against the Iranian soccer federation, telling the organization in June to let women watch games in the country. He highlighted in a letter to its president a June 6 game between Iran and Syria when “the gates were closed to female spectators and when, it would appear, a number of women seeking to attend the match were detained by security forces for a number of hours.”

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