Sunday 8 December 2019

Volleyball protest woman 'released on bail' pending appeal

Ghoncheh Ghavami, 28, from Shepherd's Bush in west London, an Iranian-British woman jailed for trying to attend a men's volleyball game in Iran has been released on bail, her family said (Family handout/PA Wire)
Ghoncheh Ghavami, 28, from Shepherd's Bush in west London, an Iranian-British woman jailed for trying to attend a men's volleyball game in Iran has been released on bail, her family said (Family handout/PA Wire)
Ghoncheh Ghavami, 28, from Shepherd's Bush in west London, an Iranian-British woman jailed for trying to attend a men's volleyball game in Iran has been released on bail (PA Wire)

Alex Diaz

An Iranian-British woman jailed for trying to attend a men's volleyball game in Iran has been released on bail, her family said.

Ghoncheh Ghavami (25) was found guilty last month of "propagating against the ruling system" and received the custodial sentence.

She was detained in June at a Tehran stadium after trying to attend a men's volleyball match between Iran and Italy.

Her brother, Iman Ghavami (28), said: "She has been bailed until her court appeal, when she hopes to be vindicated."

Ms Ghavami, from west London, was taking part in a protest against a ban on women in Iran attending sporting events in the company of men in public stadiums when she was arrested.

Iran banned women from volleyball games in 2012, extending a long-standing ban on football matches.

A post yesterday evening on a Facebook page set up by Ms Ghavami's family said: "Ghoncheh returned home from prison. We picked her up at 3pm from Qarchak prison."

Her mother, Susan Moshtaghian, said Ms Ghavami had been sentenced to one year in prison. In an emotional message posted online, she said: "Your dad was shown the verdict today. After all these going back and forth and all the troubles we were given in the past month, they finally sentenced you to one year for a crime you never committed.

"I cannot believe one year imprisonment for volleyball protest which they said had nothing to do with your charges."

More than 728,000 supporters signed an online petition asking for Ms Ghavami to be released.

In a statement, Iman Ghavami said: "Few hours ago my sister was bailed out for her birthday on Monday. It is so good to be home. I finally heard her voice after 149 days. It was a very emotional moment. My mother couldn't stop crying.

"But she is not free yet. Bail is not freedom."

Irish Independent

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