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British-Iranian woman jailed over volleyball match is released on bail

Alia Soliman , Sunday 23 Nov 2014
Ghoncheh Ghavami
Undated photo made available Sunday Nov. 23, 2014, showing Iranian-British woman Ghoncheh Ghavami, who was jailed for attending a men's volleyball game in Iran (Photo: AP)
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After spending six months in an Iranian prison, a British-Iranian woman who was arrested while attempting to watch a men’s volleyball match was released on bail on Sunday, the BBC reported.

Ghavami, who was detained and allegedly beaten on 20 June while attending an Iran-Italy volleyball match, is charged with attending a protest. Prosecutors also accuse her of having links to the Iranian opposition.

Prosecutors stated that the 25-year-old British Iranian woman was charged with attending a protest outside a volleyball match and not with attending the match itself.

Ghavami had held a protest at the match demanding the right for women to watch men's volleyball games. By custom women do not watch men’s matches in Iran.

According to Al-Monitor website, Iranian Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi wrote on her Facebook page that during a cabinet meeting on 16 June, she had “objected to the prevention of women's presence in stadiums and declared the message of despair and frustration of the young generation to the cabinet members.”

She was later quoted by local news outlet Mehr News as saying that the president had assigned her and the sports minister to look into the matter.

Many people had signed a petition calling on Iranian authorities to release Ghavami. During her imprisonment, she went on several hunger strikes in protest. She was subsequently freed but then rearrested and charged.

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