Iran loses hosting duties for volleyball event after jailing female spectator

Monday November 10th, 2014

Iran has been stripped of its hosting duties for a youth world volleyball championship amid the ongoing case of a British-Iranian woman arrested for trying to attend a men's volleyball match in Tehran in June, The Associated Press reported Monday morning.

A spokesman for FIVB, the international volleyball federation, said the body would "not give Iran the right to host any future FIVB directly controlled events such as World Championships, especially under age, until the ban on women attending volleyball matches is lifted."

Ghoncheh Ghavami was arrested on June 20 at Azadi Stadium in the Iranian capital, where women were told they would not be permitted to view a match between the Iranian men's volleyball team and the Italian national team.

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Ghavami's lawyer, Alizadeh Tabatabaie, said the 25-year-old had been sentenced to one year in jail. Tabatabaie said that he had not gotten official confirmation of the verdict, but based his comments on a copy of the ruling shown to him by a judge. Ghavami was put on trial for "propaganda against the regime."

However, deputy judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejeie has disputed Tabatabaie's report, saying the case is still open and no official sentence has been handed down.

Women are banned from attending male-only sporting events in Iran, including soccer matches, in order to protect them from lewd behavior. According to Amnesty International, Ghavemi has been held in solitary confinement at Evin prison since her arrest and began a hunger strike earlier this month.

FIVB stripping Iran of the right to host events does not extend to events that have have already been confirmed.

Argentina is expected to take over hosting duties for the 2015 boys' under-19 games.

- Christopher Woody

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