A British-Iranian woman has been been held in solitary confinement in a notorious Iranian prison for more than 70 days after trying to attend a men’s volleyball game in which the uniforms were deemed immodest by the country's strict Islamic authorities.
Twenty-five-year-old Ghonche Ghavami, an activist for women's rights and an aspiring lawyer, was arrested outside a stadium in Tehran on June 20 along with about 25 others because the male volleyball players were not considered fully dressed, according to ITV News.
“In the current conditions, the mixing of men and women in stadiums is not in the public interest,” Iran's head of police, Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam, told the semi-official Fars News Agency, the U.K. Mirror reported.
"The stance taken by religious scholars and the supreme leader remains unchanged, and as the enforcer of law, we cannot allow women to enter stadiums,” he continued.
Ghavami was hauled off to prison along with the other activists where she spent the night, but was released the next day, according to the U.K.'s Independant. When she returned to retrieve her belongings, however, she was re-arrested and eventually moved to the Evin House of Detention, a place known for holding political prisoners and enemies of the Islamic regime.
Since her arrest, a large movement has sprung up on Facebook demanding her immediate and unconditional release.
The "Free Ghoncheh Ghavami" Facebook page, for example, had garnered 9,345 "likes" by Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, back in London, Ghavami's family remains distraught over her fate. In an interview with ITV News her brother said the family was "torn apart" by her absence.
“We’re to the point of being torn apart,” her brother, a student in London, told ITV News in a video published on Monday. “Not just my parents, my grandparents, my uncles, everybody.”
Ironically, Ghavami is a supporter of the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani, according to ITV News, and hoped he would help lead Iran away from the control of radical Islamic elements.
Follow Josiah Ryan (@JosiahRyan) on Twitter