The British-Iranian woman that was arrested earlier this year for attending a volleyball event was sentenced to one year in prison, as announced by AFP.
On the 20th June, the 25-year-old former law graduate Ghoncheh Ghavami went to watch the game between Iran and Italy at Azadi Stadium where she was detained by the Iranian Police. Ghoncheh was accused and convicted for ‘spreading propaganda against the regime’ and her trial took place last month.
Ghavami’s lawyer Alizadeh Tabatabaie reported to the Iranian media that ‘according to the verdict she was sentenced to one year’. However, ‘considering that Ghoncheh Ghavami has no criminal record, the court can alleviate the verdict’.
Mr Tabatabaie is not allowed to visit his client who has been held in the past 126 days in the Evin Prison in Tehran.
The arrest and the following sentence have sparked an international outrage. Ghoncheh’s friends and relatives created a Facebook page, campaigning for her release with the slogan “Jailed for wanting to watch a volleyball match”. Ghavami herself went on a hunger strike for 14 days in October, protesting for her capture.
The National Police Chief General Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam replied that Iranian authorities are only ‘applying the law’ which states that it is “not yet in the public interest” for men and women to be present at such sporting and cultural events together.
Her dual nationality is also attracting political attention. Ghavami’s case was part of the agenda during the meeting between the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the British PM David Cameron at the UN General Assembly in September.
However, Ghavami’s case is not an isolated one in Iran. According to The Economist, last Sunday ‘a woman was hanged for killing the man she accused of molesting her, shortly before a UN envoy condemned a surge in executions and the treatment of Iran’s women’. Iran was reported by UN delegates to have executed more than 850 people in the past 15 months.
Iran is a key player in the fight against the IS militants in Iraq and Syria, as well as a supporter of the Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Damascus. Therefore, the political situation around Iran and Ghoncheh Ghavami is extremely complex and she may remain in prison despite the international pressure.
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