Radio Farda:

Authorities in Tehran have released four Iranian women from a detention center after they were arrested for allegedly dressing as men to circumvent a ban against women attending soccer matches in the Islamic republic, a Human Rights Watch researcher (HRW) says.

The researcher, Tara Sepehrui Far, said on Twitter on August 17 that the four women were freed on bail after reportedly being charged with "trying to enter stadiums illegally."

The U.S.-based nongovernmental rights group has highlighted the case and called on Iranian authorities to release women from Qarchak prison, south of Tehran, a facility where activists have reported poor hygiene and safety conditions.

Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, said on August 16 that FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, should impose sanctions against Iran in order to enforce its own regulations against gender discrimination.

Far said those released on August 17 included Zahra Khoshnavaz, a prominent advocate for ending Iran's ban against women attending public sporting events.

They also included Forough Alaei, an award-winning photographer who documented the women's defiance of the ban as they attempted to enter Tehran's Azadi Stadium in disguises, Fars said.

Also released on bail on August 17 were Leili Maleki and Hedieh Marvasti, Far tweeted.

Reports say a total of six women have been detained since August 12 for defying the ban. The fates of the other two women were not immediately clear.

“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,” Worden said.

She also said Iran should "lift the discriminatory ban," which she described as an example of "blatant, long-standing gender discrimination.”

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