Iran jails British woman for trying to watch men’s volleyball

The 25-year-old Ghoncheh Ghavami was arrested along with several other women on June 20 at Azadi Stadium. (Photo: https://www.facebook.com/FreeGhonchehGhavami?)

A British-Iranian woman who tried to enter a stadium in Tehran where Iran’s national volleyball men's team was playing against Italy has been imprisoned for more than two months, the UK's independent newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Ghoncheh Ghavami was arrested along with several other women on June 20 at Azadi Stadium – which ironically means 'freedom.'

She was reportedly released in custody, but when she went to collect her belongings days later she was rearrested and transferred to the notorious Ervin prison, where political prisoners are often detained and some even tortured.

Amnesty International said Ghavami “has been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison since 30 June, largely in solitary confinement without access to her lawyer. She is a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely for taking part in a peaceful protest against the ban on women attending Volleyball World League matches in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.”

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian women are banned from attending men's sporting events.

Ghavami's brother, 28-year-old Iman Ghavami, told ITV News: '[The family] can barely hold themselves together.

'They are torn apart – not just my parents but my grandparents, my uncles, everybody.'

Ghavami studied in London and is a lawyer.

Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam, Iran's head of police, was quoted by the Fars news agency: 'In the current conditions, the mixing of men and women in stadiums is not in the public interest,” according to the Independent.

“The stance taken by religious scholars and the supreme leader remains unchanged, and as the enforcer of law, we cannot allow women to enter stadiums,” he said.

A Facebook campaign for her release has gained more than 9,000 “likes.”

 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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