As we prepare for another show it seems unbelievable to think last week a young lady was imprisoned for watching sport, or so it would appear. Sport should be for all and should never be segregated due to race, colour or religion.
Ghoncheh Ghavami was sentenced to a year in prison in an Iranian jail for trying to watch a Volleyball match. The 25 year old Iranian-British student from London was arrested in June of this year for trying to watch an International Volleyball Federation World League match between Iran and Italy. She was among a group of women who were protesting peacefully asking that females be allowed in to watch the match. They were arrested instead.
The arrest ironically happened at Azadi (“freedom” in Farsi) stadium in Tehran. Ms Ghavami was released within a few hours after the initial arrest but she was rearrested days later.
Ghavami was tried and given a year’s sentence for “spreading propaganda.”
Her arrest has led to worldwide condemnation and even British Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken to his Iranian counterpart on the issue. However it has been reported that Iran does not recognise her dual nationality and being a British citizen. A petition on the site Change.org has generated more than 725,000 signatures calling for Ghavami’s release.
Having claimed three days ago that no charges had been laid against Ms Ghavami, in the last 24 hours Iranian authorities have said that that Ghoncheh Ghavami is being held on charges of sedition, unrelated to sport.
This may well be an incident where sport has become embroiled in politics, or politics in sport, but either way hopefully a resolution can be found soon. In the meantime we should be grateful that we are able to play and watch sport until our hearts content, or unless someone takes the remote control!