Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

British-Iranian woman gets a year in Tehran jail for trying to watch a volleyball match

1932750_821139197937118_3062069564134437623_o.jpg

A 25-year-old British-Iranian woman has been sentenced to a year in prison in Iran for attempting to watch a men's volleyball match in the capital Tehran earlier this year.

Ghoncheh Ghavami, a law graduate from London, was arrested in June but only told in late September that she'd been charged with spreading 'propaganda against the regime'. It is illegal in Iran for women to attend football or volleyball matches.

Ghoncheh was arrested on 20th June at the Azadi stadium where the national volleyball team was scheduled to play Italy. She was released within a few hours, but rearrested days later, reportedly when officials discovered her dual citizenship. Her mother Susan, 49, was born in London and grew up in the UK before moving to Iran.

During her time in prison, Ghoncheh spent 41 days in solitary confinement and was denied contact with her lawyer. In early October, she went on hunger strike for two weeks to "highlight the injustice of her situation" while her family appealed to Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, to release her.

Ghoncheh Ghavami

Ghoncheh Ghavami and her mum, Susan

Her brother Iman started a petition on Change.org, where he stated she had been arrested due to a "misunderstanding" and at time of writing, had amassed over 710,000 signatures.

Speaking to the Guardian, Iman, 28, said the family were "shattered" by the guilty verdict and sentence, which was handed down during a private hearing on Saturday that the family was not allowed to attend.

“We are really disappointed because we felt she would get out on bail immediately. She’s been through a lot and now it’s a full-year sentence and she’s already served four months."

President Rouhani recently defended her detainment when questioned on CNN, saying Iran did not recognise her dual citizenship and that “the bottom line is our aim for the laws to be respected every step of the way.”

Amnesty International has previously said a guilty verdict would be an "outrage" while Britain's Foreign Office said: "We have concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial, and Miss Ghavami's treatment whilst in custody."

Images: Save Ghoncheh Ghavami

Related

485598669.jpg

Hanged Reyhaneh Jabbari's last letter: "Sometimes one has to fight"

untitled-3.jpg

Young Iranian fans arrested over Pharrell Happy video

untitled-11.jpg

Iranian women unveil on "stealthy freedoms" Facebook group

Comments

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the weekend

From the Women's March frontline to Victoria Beckham's sweet tribute

by Nicola Colyer
23 Jan 2017

Kylie Minogue explains why she's decided to change her name

“Minogue has never tripped off the tongue”

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Jan 2017

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson’s new film is inspired by Donald Trump

Its title? Nasty Women.

by Moya Crockett
20 Jan 2017

Obama pens moving farewell letter to the US people

“You made me a better President, and you made me a better man”

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jan 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Naomi Campbell's super throwback to Mindy Kaling's farewell

by Nicola Colyer
20 Jan 2017

Melania Trump refuses to let Donald direct her at inauguration event

He was seen barking instructions at her – but she ignored him and walked away

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jan 2017

David Beckham confirmed for special Desert Island Discs episode

Time to find out what it’s like to be stuck on a desert island with David Beckham

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jan 2017

Chrissy Teigen wants you to know that everyone gets stretch marks

In her words: “Whatevs.”

by Moya Crockett
20 Jan 2017

Lena Dunham talks about painful endometriosis battle in podcast

“I felt like I’d done something terribly wrong just by wanting to feel better”

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jan 2017

Kim Kardashian joins the cast of a movie about a jewel heist

And brings Kendall Jenner along for the ride.

by Moya Crockett
19 Jan 2017