A British-Iranian woman, who was detained when she tried to attend a volleyball game played by men in Iran, was found guilty of disseminating propaganda against the system and sentenced to a prison term of one year, said her lawyer.
Britain raised concerns immediately about the trial of Ghoncheh Ghavami. Her case highlighted the limits on free expression in Iran and the efforts by Iranian authorities to enforce the strict interpretations of norms up Islamic law despite the openness policy that has been pursued by President Hassan Rouhani a moderate.
Iman Ghavami, the brother of the woman found guilty, said their family was hoping she would go free based upon the time she has already served since her arrest in June.
Her brother added that the family was still attempting to receive the official details of the court’s verdict.
Ghavami’s lawyer said she was sentenced for propagating against the current ruling system. He was shown the court’s verdict but has yet to be given an official copy.
The lawyer said he had been in court on Monday and that his client’s case was referred back to prosecutors because Ghavami would be facing additional charges.
The new charges were not discussed by the lawyer nor was an explanation given of why there were new charges.
Ghavami was stopped and then detained by authorities back in June in Tehran after attempting to attend a volleyball match between Italy and Iran’s national men’s teams.
She graduated from the University of London’s School for African and Oriental Studies. Ghavami was volunteering to work with street kids for a couple of months in Iran.
Women are not allowed to attend matches that are male only in the country. Ghavami attempted to enter to watch with other women as a protest to the ban. Photographers who were female in the complex were ordered to leave although none had been arrested.
Ghavami was detained with other protesters for a couple of hours prior to being released. A couple of days later, she was detained again and went on trial in September.
Her brother said her lawyer could not talk to his sister until the court hearing.
The British-Iranian woman has been in solitary confinement for the majority of her time in Evin prison in Tehran. To protest her situation, Ghavami went on a hunger strike on September.