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Ghoncheh Ghavami's Lawyer Says New Charges Looming Against Her Are Illegal

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

New charges may be brought against Ghoncheh Ghavami, the young woman who was arrested outside a sports stadium in Tehran in June 2014 for trying to attend a volleyball match and who remains in prison.

British-Iranian law graduate Ghoncheh Ghavami, right, with her mother, Susan Moshtaghian.

The Iranian Judiciary’s spokesperson, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, told reporters during his weekly press conference on November 10, 2014, “The end of court proceedings for this case has not been announced yet, and no sentencing has taken place. As I have said many times before, there is a difference between the end of the court session and the end of court proceedings, and in her case the end of court proceedings has not been announced yet.”

Objecting to the Judiciary Spokesperson’s statements, Ghoncheh Ghavami’s lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the “end of the proceedings for Ms. Ghavami’s case was announced and she has also been sentenced. We have no idea what the new charges and the reasons for them are.”

“She faced another charge in the same case, which was dropped, but there was an objection to this decision and the court has sustained it, and for this reason the case has been sent to the Prosecutor’s Office,” Mohseni Ejei told the reporters.

“Other than ‘propaganda against the state,’ there were no other charges in this case and in the indictment, and my client received the maximum sentence for this charge, which is a year in prison,” Alizadeh Tabatabaee told the Campaign.

Ghoncheh Ghavami was transferred from her solitary cell in Revolutionary Guard’s Ward 2-A inside Evin Prison to the General Ward of Gharchak Prison outside Tehran. With extremely poor hygiene and prison safety standards, Gharchak Prison in Varamin is considered one of the worst prison facilities in Iran, with very few female inmates. At the time of her transfer to Gharchak, Ghavami had just ended a week-long “dry” hunger strike (November 1-November 8) in which she refused both food and water to protest her state of judicial limbo in prison.

Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee told ILNA on November 1, 2014, that the presiding judge had shown him a ruling for Ghavami that showed she was sentenced to one year in prison on charges of “propaganda against the state,” but the ruling has not been officially served yet. After discovering that Ghavami’s case has been referred to the Prosecutor’s Office, Tabatabaee called the action “illegal.” He told ISNA on November 2, “The Prosecutor’s Office cannot alter the indictment, unless there are new charges and reasons, and even that requires that the suspect is informed of the charges, that the investigations are completed, and that a new case is established.”

Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, who holds dual citizenship from Iran and the United Kingdom, is a law graduate from SOAS, University of London. She returned to Iran in March 2014 upon completion of her studies. Ghavami was among a group of women who appeared outside Tehran’s Azadi Sports Stadium on June 25, to attend the Iran-Italy volleyball game. Iranian authorities did not allow the women to attend the event. Ghavami and a group of other women were arrested and transferred to Tehran’s Vozara Complex. They were later released, after they signed a letter of recognizance and their personal belongings were confiscated.

When Ghavami appeared at the Vozara Complex on the morning of June 30 to claim her confiscated belongings, she was arrested without any explanation. During her more than four months in “temporary detention,” the authorities have repeatedly rejected her request for release on bail until her sentencing is finalized.

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