Iranian women released from jail following arrest at men's soccer match

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, women are banned from entering a stadium where a men's soccer match is taking place.

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August 19, 2019 17:43
1 minute read.
Iranian women released from jail following arrest at men's soccer match

Iran's Morteza Pouraliganji celebrates their first goal . (photo credit: REUTERS/KIM HONG-JI)

Disguised as men, a group of Iranian women attempted to do the impossible - watch a men's soccer match in Iran. As a result, they were arrested last week for violating Iran's ban on women entering soccer and other stadiums, Radio Farda reported.

Following international pressure, the women were released on Saturday.


In the Islamic Republic of Iran, women are banned from entering a stadium where a men's soccer match is taking place. The ban was briefly lifted in June 2018 when Iran's soccer team was in the World Cup, and women were allowed in public stadiums to watch the final two games.

Among the four women who were released was Forough Alaei, an award-winning photographer, who regularly photographed the sporting events ban and even won a World Press Photo award in 2019 for her work.

HRW highlighted the case and called on Iran to lift the ban and release the women from Qarchak prison, a notoriously unsafe and unhygienic facility, Radio Farda reported.


Director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch Minky Worden said that “Iranian women should not be spending a second in prison because authorities accuse them of peacefully attempting to defy a ridiculous ban that denies women and girls equal rights to attend a football match.”

In a letter to Iranian soccer federation president Mehdi Taj, FIFA President Gianni Infantino wrote "Whilst we are aware of the challenges and cultural sensitivities, we simply have to continue making progress here, not only because we owe it to women all over the world, but also because we have a responsibility to do so, under the most basic principles set out in the FIFA Statutes," the Associated Press reported. Furthermore, Infantino gave Iran an ultimatum: take "concrete steps" towards equality or face the consequences.


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