British-Iranian Woman Jailed For Watching Volleyball Is Finally Receiving Foreign Office Help

Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, has been in jail for three months after daring to watch a men's volleyball game…


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

When you think of volleyball you think of a game ostensibly put together by blokes who like to leer over semi-naked women bouncing about as they clamp their arms together, squishing their cleavages into deeper Vs as they oomph and ahh about a sandy court. But in Iran, volleyball is an entirely different ball game – quite literally.

Ghoncheh Ghavami has spent over 80 days in prison in Tehran without being charged. She has no idea when she'll be released. Women used to be banned from volleyball matches with a law enforced by morality police intent on keeping men and women separated. However, after reading an article in a paper which was pro-women attending volleyball games, the 25-year-old law graduate, who used to study at SOAS university in London, thought it might be OK to go along to one.

After spending her summer in a notorious jail, her brother Iman has said he is pleased that the UK authorities are going to meet with him to come to some solution, at a time when relations between the UK and Iran are tense: 'The Foreign Office called me this morning at 11am for a few minutes. [They] were going to arrange a meeting for me and a few officials at the Foreign Office to talk about my sister.'

'I welcome the Foreign Office’s invitation. I don’t know what they are proposing to do yet,' he told The Telegraph.

Meanwhile, Ghoncheh's parents are still in Iran, visiting their daughter in prison whenever they can. British diplomats there are trying to get to the bottom of the case, too, having asked Iranian authorities about the charges against her. Ajay Sharma, the British diplomat for Iran, said he was 'following up direct with the Iranians of this case.'

Hopefully Ghoncheh can be released soon because it sounds like going to a volleyball game is not a good enough reason to lock someone away for three months.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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