Woman Jailed For Watching Volleyball In Iran

A British-Iranian woman has been sentenced to one year in prison – after she tried to attend a volleyball match in Tehran.

Ghoncheh Ghavami, who was arrested outside the Freedom Stadium, was given no reason for her conviction.

The law graduate, from Shepherd's Bush in west London, had been accused of "propaganda against the state".

Iranian officials maintain she was detained for security reasons. The 25-year-old, an alumna of the School of African and Oriental Studies, went on hunger strike after she was moved to the "brutal" Evin Prison in June.

A campaign calling for her immediate release has attracted more than 700,000 supporters to date.

Amnesty International has labelled Ms Ghavami's continued incarceration as "appalling", and described her as a prisoner of conscience.

Its director, Kate Allen, said: "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.

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

A family spokesman added: "A fair and just legal process, according to Iran's legal framework, is the basic right of every Iranian citizen. Why are these rights not upheld in Ghoncheh's case?"

Prior to the volleyball match between Iran and Italy, women were barred from attending the event altogether.

Gen Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, chief of the national police, had said it was "not yet in the public interest" for men and women to share the stands.

Women are already banned from Iranian football matches, but authorities insist this rule is designed to protect them against inappropriate behaviour from men.

"We have concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial and Ms Ghavami's treatment whilst in custody," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.