Iranian woman gets two years for protesting ban on women attending sports matches
Ghoncheh Ghavami, age 25, is Iranian-British national arrested in Tehran this past June for trying to attend a volleyball match together with men. A court has now sentenced her to two years in prison.
She was arrested for participating in a peaceful demonstration outside of Tehran's Azyadi Stadium during a volleyball match between Iran and Italy that protested the ban on women attending public sports matches together with men. After her release on that occasion she was taken into custody 10 days later and kept in detention for several weeks without being permitted any visitors.
Authorities subjected her to ill-treatment and threatened her with death before moving her to Gharchak, a maximum-security prison for serious criminals. On 20 September, her family learned that her case would be ruled on by the Revolutionary Court and that she was charged with propagandizing against the system of government.
The legal ban on women attending volleyball matches together with men was introduced in 2012 after the Iranian Ministry of Sport decided to expand a 1979 law that banned women attending football matches. Amnesty International has launched a campaign for Ghoncheh's relase that has collected 35 000 signatures so far, and the Italian Volleyball League has decided to post the message "FREE GHONCHEH" on banners to be unfurled at all Premier League team matches on 8 and 9 November.
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