Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Iran jails woman for going to a volleyball game

Ghoncheh Ghavami may be the world's only volleyball-related political prisoner. The 25-year-old, who was arrested when she tried to attend a men's volleyball game in Iran earlier in 2014, has been "locked up simply for peacefully having her say about how women are discriminated against in Iran," an Amnesty International director says. She was first arrested in June 2014 and has now been sentenced to a year in prison for allegedly spreading propaganda against the ruling system. She tried to enter the stadium with other women to protest Iran's ban on women attending male-only matches, and her brother believes that she was singled out for harsh treatment because she holds both Iranian and British citizenship. Iran extended a long-standing ban on women attending men's soccer matches to volleyball in 2012, arguing that women needed protection from unruly fans. Amnesty says that Ghavami was beaten after her arrest and put in solitary confinement in a Tehran prison, where she spent two weeks on hunger strike. Her lawyer says that he has never been given the chance to meet with his client outside of court and that authorities have threatened to put her on trial again over unspecified additional charges. British authorities have raised objections to Ghavami's treatment, and a petition to free her has received more than 700,000 signatures. Recently, despite international outcry, Iran hanged a woman convicted of killing her would-be rapist.

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