A British-Iranian woman imprisoned for attempting to watch a volleyball match in Tehran is on a hunger strike to protest her “illegal detention,” Agence France-Presse, or AFP, reported on Tuesday. Women in Iran are prohibited from attending football and volleyball matches under the country’s laws, which, officials say, protects them from the “lewd behavior” of male fans.
“She's been on hunger strike from Saturday,” Iman Ghavami, brother of Ghoncheh Ghavami, told AFP. “She's not eating any solid foods and she's not drinking any liquids.”
The 25-year-old law graduate from London has been kept in detention, and has reportedly spent time in solitary confinement since her arrest in June, after attempting to attend a volleyball match between Iran and Italy in Tehran. She had previously gone on a hunger strike for two weeks in October to protest her detention without a trial, according to media reports.
Iranian officials have claimed that Ghavami was arrested for spreading “anti-regime propaganda” and that her detention has nothing to do with her attending the sporting event, BBC reported.
Ghavami's lawyer reportedly said that he had seen court documents showing that she had been sentenced to a year in prison. However, as of now, the status of her case remains uncertain as prosecutors have not confirmed her sentence.
“The case is in limbo...I don't understand why they don't want to issue the verdict when they have made the decision,” Iman Ghavami told AFP.
The British Foreign Office has also raised concerns over the court’s ruling and the “grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial, and Miss Ghavami's treatment whilst in custody,” according to media reports.
Ghavami is both a British and an Iranian national. However, since Iran does not recognize dual nationality and treats dual nationals as Iranians, the British government cannot offer formal diplomatic protection to her.
Ghavami's case comes to light less than two weeks after the United Nations slammed Iran's “deeply troubling” human rights record after a 26-year-old Iranian woman was executed for killing a man who she claimed had tried to sexually abuse her.