Fars News Agency – Iran’s Judiciary has been asked to investigate the death of Sahar Khodayari, dubbed as Blue Girl for the colors of her favorite team, Esteghlal.
Media reports first quoted one of her friends as saying that Sahar, 29, set fire on herself after learning she could face six months in prison for sneaking into a men’s match in March. But the claim was immediately rejected by the judiciary, saying that no decree had been issued for Blue Girl yet and her case was still being studied. Later her family said her arrest was not even for her failed attempt to sneak into the stadium, but for violating the country’s law on Hijab – Islamic code of dressing – and for struggling and insulting the policemen at the gates of Tehran’s iconic Azadi Stadium.
On the other hand, Heidar Ali Khodayari, Sahar’s father, confirmed that his daughter had mental disorder and was long on medication before she stopped treatment against her doctor’s repeated warnings.
Iranian Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar asked the Judiciary Chief to look into the case in a letter. Also, the head of the commission to restore the public rights of the Judiciary’s lawyers center in a letter on Wednesday called on the chief of the general and revolution courts of Tehran to clear ambiguities regarding Sahar’s death.
“The commission to restore the public rights of the Judiciary’s lawyers center, the official experts and family advisors of the Judiciary want you to clarify and explain the realities of this event,” the letter said, addressing Abbas Pouriani.
Sahar set herself on fire at Tehran’s main courthouse on September 3 after she rejected medication for her bipolar disorder for about a year, her family members said. Sahar’s sister confirmed to the Persian-language Hamshahri newspaper that she had been detained for improper hijab, disguising herself as men to enter the stadium and after struggling with the police and insulting officers.
She added that when Sahar entered the stadium last March to watch a football match between Esteghlal and al-Ain teams in Tehran, the police officers stopped her for physical inspection but she told them not to touch her because she was a girl and then she was detained. Sahar’s sister noted that the family was immediately informed of her detention and went to the police office to release their daughter but the interrogator said that they had to provide a bail for her freedom.
“We did not have the money to provide the bond at that moment” and when the family provided the bond the day after Sahar’s arrest but since it was Thursday (the weekend) they had to wait until Saturday for Sahar to be freed, she said.
“Sahar went to the prosecutor’s office a few weeks later to collect her cell phone. It seems that she heard from someone (who is not known if he was an official or not) there that she would receive a 6-month jail term,” Sahar’s sister said. “Of course, my sister had a record of illness and bipolar disorder. Several years ago, she committed suicide when she was a university student and was hospitalized for a while. All related medical documents also exist,” she said.
Also, Sahar’s father confirmed that his daughter had mental disorder and was on medication, but meantime, said that Sahar did not believe that she was sick and resisted and refused to take her pills, but her mother poured the medicine in drinks so that she does not understand.
“Yet, her mother had stopped force-giving Sahar her medicine since a year ago. Doctors had warned of the grave impacts of any pause in her treatment and said that she might do dangerous things. Her doctor had also cautioned about the side effects of the drugs, including blindness, and her mother, hence, had stopped giving her medicine anymore,” he said.
After setting fire on herself, Blue Girl was transferred to Tehran’s Motahhari Hospital with third-degree burns on 90 percent of her body and severe damage to her lungs. She died on September 9, at 4am.
Sahar was a fan of the football club, Esteghlal, and since her self-immolation, the western-based media have rushed take the opportunity to blame Iranian policies and the establishment for her death, rather than her mental problems.
Disrespecting Sahar’s death and her bereaved family’s need to privacy for mourning, the Persian and English-language media outlets based in the West have used deviations and fabrication in the story to ignore Sahar’s earlier suicide attempts to claim that she is dead in protest at the Iran’s stadium ban on women.
While, Persian-language media outlets like BBC Persian completely ignored Sahar’s mental health record completely for days, the English versions came to only touch the issue on the surface to later convince the audience that her bipolar disorder deteriorated after two days of detention at the police station, never bothering to explain that Blue Girl had stopped taking her pills for about a year, and that her self-immolation happened several weeks after she was released from detention on bail.
They also claim that she set herself on fire after she was given a 6-month prison term (some like Al-Jazeera claimed that she was to be given a two-year jail term), while her sister and father have in several interviews with different Iranian media stressed that her case was under study and no court session had even been set.
Sahar’s story is full of controversy as the opposition of the Islamic Republic from the US State Department’s admittedly paid agent Massih Alinejad to the widow of the dethroned Pahlavy king, Farah Diba, have rushed to take the opportunity to change the completely sad story of the end of a 29-year-old girl to a means for their political ends, sparing her bereaved family no time to mourn on the death of their beloved one and forcing her father to appear on Iranian TV to reject such opposition reports and reiterate the truth of her death.
In an interview with the state-run TV channel two last night, Mr. Khodayari begged those misusing her daughter’s death to stop fabrications in a show of respect for the family.