Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

British-Iranian Activist Ghoncheh Ghavami Sentenced To A Year In Prison For Trying To Watch A Volleyball Game

The 25-year-old was arrested in June for taking part in a peaceful protest outside Tehran's Azadi Stadium.

Posted on November 2, 2014, at 7:45 a.m. ET

Ghoncheh Ghavami, a British-Iranian woman from Shepherd's Bush in London, has reportedly been sentenced to a year in prison for trying to watch a men's volleyball match.

Her lawyer, Alizadeh Tabatabaie, told the BBC she'd been found guilty of spreading anti-regime propaganda.

The Iranian authorities banned women from volleyball games two years ago, arguing that women need protection from the behaviour of male fans.

The 25-year-old was arrested on June 30 outside Tehran's Azadi Stadium for taking part in a peaceful protest demanding women be allowed inside the venue.

In a statement, Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

This is an appalling verdict.

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.

Ghoncheh is a prisoner of conscience and the Iranian authorities should quash the sentence and release her immediately and unconditionally.

The authorities should also investigate allegations that Ghoncheh was subjected to death threats by her interrogators and provide compensation for her arbitrary detention and her prolonged solitary confinement.

Last month, after more than 100 days inside Evin prison in Tehran, Ghavami began a "wet" hunger strike — refusing to take food, but accepting liquid.

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

A protester holds up a picture of Ghoncheh Ghavami as Iran's President Dr. Hassan Rouhani, left, speaks with moderator Fareed Zakaria at New America, a public policy institute and think tank in New York on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said it was "concerned" by the reports:

We are concerned about reports that Ghoncheh Ghavami has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for 'propaganda against the state'. We have concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial and Miss Ghavami's treatment whilst in custody.

There has been a furious reaction on social media.

She was sentenced to 1 year in jail for trying to watch a men's volleyball game. How dare she? #GhonchehGhavami #Iran

Tamara@TamelchFollow

She was sentenced to 1 year in jail for trying to watch a men's volleyball game. How dare she? #GhonchehGhavami #Iran

11:27 AM - 02 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

An online petition demanding her release had attracted over half a million signatures.

Her mother had been leaving heartfelt messages on this Facebook campaign page.

Facebook: FreeGhonchehGhavami

Earlier in the year her brother said he believed his sister might have been targeted for being a dual citizen.

ADVERTISEMENT