British-Iranian Woman Jailed For Watching Volleyball Is Released On Her Birthday

Ghoncheh Ghavami was bailed on her 26th birthday at a cost of £24,000, because she has been unwell...

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by Sophie Wilkinson |

In what is sort-of good news, the British-Iranian girl, Ghoncheh Ghavami, who was imprisoned in Iran for going to a volleyball game, has been bailed on her 26th birthday, today.

However, her bailing – which her family have paid £24k for, is more to do with her weakened state – she has intestinal problems after doing several hunger strikes – rather than Iranian officials realising that attending a volleyball game shouldn't be a punishable crime.

READ MORE: British-Iranian Woman Jailed For Watching Volleyball Is Finally Getting Foreign Office Help

Ghoncheh has spent 150 days in prison, with some confusion as to why Iranian officials have put her there. It could be because volleyball games were outlawed in 2012, or because, as her lawyer says court documents prove, Ghoncheh was found guilt of spreading anti-regime propaganda.

Or maybe it's because she had taken part in opposition protests abroad. Ghoncheh's family told the BBC that, as well as being given the year's jail sentence, Ghoncheh had been given a two-year travel ban, that's why she is currently with her family in Tehran.

As well as the UK Foreign Office expressing 'concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial and [Ms] Ghavami's treatment whilst in custody,' her MP in Hammersmith, Andy Slaughter, welcomed the news of her bailing: 'We must continue the campaign until charges against her are dropped and she is free to travel outside Iran.'

Girl Imprisoned For Attending A Volleyball Game In Iran Just Stood Trial

However, though you'd think dual nationality would give her some advantage, it actually doesn't. First of all, dual nationality isn't even recognised in Iran, and secondly, even if it was, countries can't give formal support to someone of dual nationality if they're in the country where they hold that second nationality. All-in-all it's pretty confusing, but if any of this news brings Ghoncheh closer to freedom, then it's a good thing.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

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Picture: Rex

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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