Woman Jailed for Protesting Ban Against Women

Ghoncheh Ghavami was sentenced by Iranian court to a year in jail for protesting the ban on women from attending sporting events.

Cynthia Blank ,

Women in Iran (illustrative)
Women in Iran (illustrative)

An Iranian-British woman was arrested and jailed for a year for spreading anti-state propaganda after attending a demonstration in Tehran against the ban on women attending certain male sporting events, according to Iranian media. 

Iranian women in the Islamic Republic are banned from being spectators at male sporting events such as football (soccer) and volleyball.

Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, was arrested on June 20 outside Tehran's Azadi Stadium. She and a group of other protesters were demanding that women be allowed in to watch the volleyball match between Iran and Italy.

Ghavami was released soon after her arrest in June but was re-arrested several days later when she was called back to the precinct to reclaim personal belongings the authorities had confiscated.

A court in Tehran charged her with activities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic. 

In October, several weeks before her sentencing hearing, she went on a two-week hunger strike. 

Alireza Tabatabaie, Ghavami's lawyer said "various reasons" prevented him from meeting with his client before Saturday's hearing. But he did add that her sentence may be cut due to previous good behavior.

Great Britain currently has no permanent diplomatic presence in Iran but has said it plans to reopen its embassy soon. Although British authorities protested Ghavami's arrest at the time of her detention, there was no immediate comment from the foreign ministry regarding her sentence. 

Shortly after Ghavami was indicted, another dual citizen, Iranian-American Jason Rezaian - a reporter for the Washington Post - was arrested. He is currently being held without charge. 

Last week Rezaian's mother and brother called for his release. "After 100 days it's time for Iran to concede Jason's innocence and release him," Mary Breme Rezaian and Ali Rezaian wrote in an online statement Thursday.

The US has no direct diplomatic relations with Iran.