A young woman set herself on fire outside a court in Tehran after finding out she had to serve another six months of prison for trying to circumvent a ban on women attending football matches, the state-run ROKNA news agency reported on September 4, 2018.
Her sister told the state media that the 28-year-old had been prosecuted as a “healthy person” despite suffering from a serious mental health condition.
The report said that she came out of court shouting and expressing strong grievances before dousing herself with gas and setting herself on fire.
Her sister told ROKNA that she had previously gone to watch a match between two Iranian national soccer teams in March.
“In March 2019, my sister went to Azadi Stadium and the guards noticed she had gone inside,” said the woman’s sister. “My sister resisted and they arrested her.”
Her sister said that the woman was suffering from bipolar disorder and had been undergoing treatment for the last two years.
She said that they gave the court sufficient evidence to prove her illness but they continued the legal proceedings without considering her illness.
“After being taken to Qarchak Prison in Varamin, my sister suffered a lot of mental issues and felt terrified,” she said. “She was eventually released on bail and when she went to the courthouse to pick up her phone, something happened and she heard she had to stay in prison for six months.”
“In that poor mental and psychological state, my sister set herself on fire,” she said.
Reports indicate that 90% of the woman’s body had suffered third degree burns and that she was not able to breath on her own.
Under the Article 80 and 81 of Iran’s Criminal Procedures Regulations, the judicial authorities who prosecuted the woman, were able to drop the charges due to her mental health condition.
A Tehran judicial official said said: “In March 2019, while inappropriately covered, she clashed with law enforcement officers and insulted them. The necessary documentation in this regard was provided by the police and delivered to the Tehran prosecutor’s office. Accordingly, she is being sued and will be released on bail. “
He said she set herself on fire as a way to protest the court not seeing to her case at the time.
Qarchak Prison, also known as Shahr-e Rey Detention Center, is a women’s prison near Tehran known for its horrid conditions. There is no separation of crimes in this prison and political prisoners are held along with ordinary criminals and dangerous prisoners.
Most recently, 200 inmates in Ward 5 of Gharchak Prison sent an open letter to the head of the State Prisons Organization in Tehran Province protesting the prison’s inhumane living conditions.
In their letter the female prisoners cited the low quality of prison food, the high price of food and clothes and the prisoners’ lack of access to sanitary items and clean drinking water.