Women’s Futsal Team Captain Allowed to Travel to World Championship Only after Judiciary Gives Consent
Husband’s Refusal to Give Consent Kept Her Banned from Leaving Country
The captain of the Iranian women’s national Futsal team, Niloufar Ardalan, who was previously banned from leaving the country to play in the Asian championships in Malaysia because her husband, Mehdi Tutunchi, had not given his consent, has received permission from the Judiciary to travel with the team to Guatemala for the world futsal championship.
Ardalan said in an interview with the state television’s popular sports program “Ninty” on November 23, 2015, that the Judiciary had issued her a single exit visa.
The Judiciary’s news agency, Mizan, also confirmed that Ardalan had left the country “with the approval of the [futsal] federation and a number of supervisory agencies, without the consent of her husband.’’
Legal expert Farideh Gheirat told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that women in Iran have complained about the restrictive and discriminatory travel laws for years and demanded changes but so far there has been no progress. “One thing women can do is to include a clause in the marriage contract whereby the husband would give power of attorney to his wife to get a passport or renew an existing one,” Gheirat said.
Section 3 of Article 18 of the Passport Law gives the husband the right to allow or reject his wife’s request to obtain a passport. If she does obtain a passport, the husband has to give consent for its renewal as well. However, the law also states that in “emergency cases” the prosecutor of the city where the wife resides can give permission for her to leave the country.
When Niloufar Ardalan’s husband prevented her from traveling to Malaysia for the Asian futsal championships, his reasoning was that the games coincided with their son’s first day in school.
On September 30, 2015, the Rouhani administration’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Mowlaverdi, reacted, saying in an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) that the government would look for legal exemptions to allow women to attend international scientific or sports events if necessary.
“Women have found ways to liberate themselves from the law by getting a power of attorney from the husband to allow them to travel abroad. But most women are unaware of these exceptions,” Mowlaverdi said.