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British-Iranian woman detained in Iran goes on hunger strike

A British-Iranian woman who has been jailed in Iran for more than three months for trying to watch a men’s volleyball match has gone on hunger strike.

Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, has been held in the Evin prison in Tehran for more than 100 days after attempting to watch a volleyball match between Iran and Italy.

Ghavami’s mother, Sousan Moshtaghian, confirmed in a Facebook message that her daughter has been on a hunger strike since Wednesday.

“Finally yesterday I got to see my Ghoncheh. She said she could no longer tolerate her condition and as such has decided to go on hunger strike,” wrote Moshtaghian.

“She said that she’s fed up with this 100-day uncertainty. It’s been a while that she has no more interrogations but her detention has not ended. That she’s been banned from visits for no reason for 19 days.”

She added that she would also go on hunger strike. “My God, you are a witness to how I kept my silence for 82 days so my innocent girl comes back home safely,” Moshtaghian said. “But now that her health and life are in danger I am not going to sit in silence. Please God, end this nightmare for me. Please give me strength to save and release my darling child.”

READ: ‘Trust President Rouhani’: Britain’s new policy towards Iran

Ghavami was initially released after being arrested for trying to enter the stadium. She was then rearrested days later when she tried to collect her belongings from a police station.

A Facebook page was set up campaigning for her release. Half a million people have also signed an online Change.org petition to appeal for Ghavami’s release.

“We are in touch with her family and we have raised our concerns with the Iranian government and asked for more information about her welfare and the charges against her,” a Foreign Office spokesman said previously.

Women have been banned from attending volleyball matches in Iranian stadiums since 2012. “Officials have frequently stated that the ban is for their own benefit as they need protection from the lewd behavior of male fans,” Amnesty International explained in a statement.

Ghavami was only told on September 23 that she was formally charged with “propaganda against the regime,” the Guardian reports. Her case is expected to be heard by Tehran’s revolutionary court, although no date for the proceedings has been made public.

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