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Iran Links Jailed Iranian-British Woman To Opposition, Not Volleyball

  • RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Iran's judiciary says a jailed Iranian-British woman has officially been charged because of her links to the opposition, not for attending a volleyball match as widely reported.

ISNA news agency quoted on November 18 a statement by the Tehran's prosecutor's office as saying Ghoncheh Ghavami was active in opposition protests abroad.

It also said Ghavami was in contact with foreign satellite channels such as the BBC Farsi service, which is banned in Iran.

Ghavami, 25, was detained in June after trying to attend a men's volleyball match in Tehran, in defiance of hard-liners' push for gender segregation.

Ghavami's lawyer said in October she had been found guilty of spreading propaganda against Iran's system and sentenced to one year in prison.

But the prosecutor's statement didn't mention any conviction, saying the case was still under review.

The British Foreign Office said early this month there were "concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial," and the treatment of Ghavami while in custody.

The International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) said in a statement last week that while it did not want to interfere with "laws and cultures of any nation...this sensitive incident merits particular attention."

Ghavami was arrested on June 20 outside of Azadi Stadium, where Iran's national volleyball team was set to play Italy.

She was reportedly told in September that she was charged with "propaganda against the regime."

Ghavami already has spent weeks in solitary confinement during her Iranian imprisonment.

She went on a two-week hunger strike in October to protest her imprisonment.

With reporting by AP and the