Woman jailed for watching men's volleyball game goes on hunger strike

Woman jailed for watching men's volleyball game goes on hunger strike
Ghoncheh Ghavami.

A British-Iranian woman held in a Tehran prison for more than three months after going to a men’s volleyball match has gone on hunger strike, her family have revealed.

Ghoncheh Ghavami has been detained in the Evin jail in the Iranian capital for the last 100 days.

The 25-year-old from Shepherd’s Bush in west London was arrested after attending the match in June.

Her mother Susan Moshtaghian confirmed her daughter’s protest in an emotional update on a Facebook page set up to campaign for her release.

She wrote: “Yesterday, I finally saw my Ghoncheh. She said she’s been on a hunger strike since Wednesday. God, I can’t breathe...

“She said that she’s fed up with this 100 day uncertainty. It’s been a while that she has no more interrogations but her detention has not ended.

“That she’s been banned from visits for no reason for 19 days.

“Ghoncheh said that she can’t tolerate this any longer and she’s on a hunger strike.

“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.

“She hasn’t returned and now her life and health is in danger. I will no longer sit silently. God end this nightmare.”

Women have been banned from attending volleyball matches in stadia in Iran since 2012, according to Amnesty International.

Ms Ghavami, who has dual British-Iranian citizenship, was in the country to work for a charity teaching literacy to street children and to visit relatives when she was arrested.

She was first held after the match, which took place on June 20, before being released but she was then re-arrested a few days later.

A petition set up on online campaigning platform Change.org to appeal for her release has now been signed by more than half a million people.

Last month, Ms Ghavami’s brother Iman took the petition to the United Nations in New York.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond raised Ms Ghavami’s case in a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in the margins of the UN General Assembly.

The Foreign Office has previously said it is “concerned” about Ms Ghavami’s detention, adding: “We are in touch with her family and we have raised our concerns with the Iranian government and asked for more information about her welfare and the charges against her.”

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