Thanks to everyone who read Ghoncheh Ghavami’s story and signed the Change.org petition. I hope this is not the last chance we have to make our voices heard. I’ve included the original Change.org petition at the end of the latest developments. XO Warrior
Iran Jails British-Iranian Woman Ghoncheh Ghavami Over Men’s Volleyball Protest
AP | By ADAM SCHRECK
Posted: 11/02/2014 10:48 am EST Updated: 11/03/2014 11:59 am EST
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Iranian-British woman detained while trying to attend a men’s volleyball game in Iran has been found guilty of spreading propaganda against the ruling system and sentenced to a year in prison, her lawyer said Sunday.
Britain immediately raised concerns about Ghoncheh Ghavami’s trial. The case highlighted the limits to free expression inside Iran and efforts by authorities to enforce strict interpretations of Islāmic norms despite a policy of greater openness being pursued by moderate President Hassan Rouhani.
The 25-year-old woman’s brother, Iman Ghavami, said the family had hoped she would be set free based on time already served since her June arrest. They are still trying to get official details of the verdict, he said.
“We’re disappointed and kind of shocked. We really hoped she’d be released,” he told The Associated Press.
Ghavami’s lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, said in an interview that a court found her guilty of “propagating against the ruling system.” Tabatabaei said he was shown the text of the verdict but is still waiting to receive it officially.
“I was told at the court today that my client’s case has been referred back to the prosecutor because Ghavami is facing new charges. So, the verdict was not given to me,” he said.
Tabatabaei didn’t elaborate what the new charges are or why fresh charges have been raised against his client now.
Ghavami was detained in June at Tehran’s Freedom Stadium after trying to attend a men’s volleyball match between Iran and Italy.
She is a graduate of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and had been volunteering to help street kids in Iran for a few months, her brother said.
Women are banned from attending male-only matches in Iran. Ghavami tried to enter the stadium with other women to protest the ban, according to Amnesty International. Female photographers inside the complex were also ordered to leave, though none was arrested.
Ghavami was held along with the other protesters for a few hours before being released. She was detained again a few days later and stood trial last month. Her brother said she had no access to her lawyer until it came time for her court hearing.
“This whole case has been full of abnormalities,” Iman Ghavami said.
Ghavami has been held in solitary confinement for much of her time at Tehran’s Evin prison, according to Amnesty. She went on hunger strike at one point last month to protest her detention.
The rights group sharply criticized Sunday’s verdict and called Ghavami a prisoner of conscience.
“It’s an outrage that a young woman is being locked up simply for peacefully having her say about how women are discriminated against in Iran,” Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said.
Iman Ghavami said he believes authorities singled out his sister from the other female protesters because she holds both British and Iranian citizenship. Iranian authorities do not recognize dual nationalities for its citizens and treats them as Iranians under law.
The British Foreign Office expressed doubts about the sentence Sunday.
“We have concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial and Miss Ghavami’s treatment whilst in custody,” it said in a statement.
Iran’s moderate President Rouhani has faced resistance from hard-liners who feel he is too soft on those who challenge strict interpretations of Islam.
In one case earlier this year, six young Iranian men and women who shot a video of themselves dancing together and unveiled to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” were arrested along with the film’s director for allegedly breeching Islāmic norms. They received suspended sentences of jail terms and lashes in September.
Iran’s judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, has criticized reports linking Ghavami’s arrest to volleyball, saying last month: “Her case has nothing to do with sports.”
Associated Press writers Ali Akbar Dareini in Tehran, Iran, and Danica Kirka in London contributed reporting
@David_Cameron + @HassanRouhani Bring my sister home #FreeGhonchehGhavami
London, United Kingdom
Since June 2014 my younger sister is in solitary confinement in Tehran. She was arrested for going to a men’s volleyball match.
Ghoncheh is a British Iranian dual citizen. She was there to watch a game. She was arrested because of a misunderstanding.
Amnesty International has called for an Urgent Action for my sister. Amnesty believes Ghoncheh has been put under psychological pressure and been told she “would not walk out of prison alive.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said it was “aware of reports” of her imprisonment but its diplomatic powers are limited in Iran. We know that the UK Government has the power to do more to help Ghoncheh. Past cases have shown us that when pressure is applied Government will take more action.
Every signature and share will bring my sister closer to home. Will you help end this nightmare for my family?
خواهر کوچکترم از نهم تیر در انفرادی به سرمیبرد. غنچه به خاطر رفتن به ورزشگاه والیبال دستگیر شد
غنچه به آن جا رفته بود تا بازی را تماشا کند. دستگیری او یک سوتفاهم است
با امضای این نامه به من کمک کنید تا خواهرم را دوباره به خانه برگردانم
I’m a distressed brother who is fighting to bring her sister home. My sister is a law student in University of London. She should not have been arrested in the first place and does not deserve to be in solitary.
Amnesty International has said that “Ghoncheh’s lawyer has not been allowed to meet in prison or even access her case file.”
Ghoncheh was in Iran for a few months to work for a charity teaching literacy to street children and see our family. She thought women would be allowed to attend World League volleyball matches after Iran was warned about the matter by International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB).
Her arrest is a truly tragic misunderstanding. Will you help bring her home?
Government of Iran & the UK government
Please allow my sister to come home.
She should not have been arrested for going to a volleyball match. Ghoncheh does not deserve to be in solitary.
by Iman Ghavami