Ghoncheh Ghavami is a 25 year old law graduate from London who has been sentenced to a year of imprisonment for trying to attend a male volleyball game in Tehran, the capital of Iran. She was detained back in June 20, 2014 then released, only to be re-arrested and formally charged with “propaganda against the regime” a few days later. Attending the game was a peaceful protest against the Iranian law that states women are not allowed to mix with males in sports stadiums.
She is being held with no possibility of bail and while she is in fact a dual citizen of both Britain and Iran, according to President Rouhani in an interview with BBC’s Christiane Amanpour, the law of Iran states that those with dual citizenship are considered to be “Iranian citizens only. We do not accept dual citizenship. But the bottom line is that our aim is for the laws to be respected at every step of the way,”
Her imprisonment has lead to outrage around the world and Amnesty International’s UK director, Kate Allen, addresses Ghoncheh as “a prisoner of conscience.” She also has a suggestion for Iranian officials regarding their laws regarding women:
“Instead of persecuting people for peacefully protesting about pervasive discrimination against women in Iran, the authorities should abolish discriminatory laws and issue an assurance that women will be allowed to freely attend all sporting events in the country in future”
To protest her imprisonment, Ghoncheh enacted a wet hunger strike, only consuming liquids for 14 days. An emotional Facebook post from mother confirmed that her daughter was on a hunger strike that began Wednesday, October 1, 2014. “I will not touch food either until the day that my Ghoncheh will break her hunger strike. God, you’ve been my witness, I have remained silent for 82 days so that my innocent daughter returns home”
According to CBS, Iran’s judiciary spokesman, has criticized reports and campaigns suggesting that Ghoncheh’s arrest is liked to volleyball, saying last month: “Her case has nothing to do with sports.”
Petition and Social Media
Ghoncheh’s brother Iman Ghavami has has an ongoing petition on Change.org for her release. In the petition, Iman pleads with the public: “Every signature and share will bring my sister closer to home. Will you help end this nightmare for my family?”
There is also a Official Facebook Page where the family is gaining public support.
Iman has also utilized Twitter for his campaign to free his sister with the hashtags #FreeGhoncheh and #FreeGhonchehGhavami. Awareness of the case has grown quickly and the petition is ongoing with over 700,000 signatures.
What Do You Think?
Will this petition and public support be enough to move the court’s decision? What are you feelings regarding this law against women attending sport stadiums?
Photo source: Change.org Petition page