British-Iranian woman jailed for watching male sport on hunger strike

Updated 06 October 2014

British-Iranian woman jailed for watching male sport on hunger strike

TEHRAN: A British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Tehran after trying to attend a men’s volleyball match has gone on hunger strike to mark her 100 days in custody, her mother said.
Ghoncheh Ghavami was arrested on June 20 near the Azadi (“Freedom” in Persian) stadium in the capital, where the national volleyball team was due to play Italy in a World League game.
She was released within hours but then rearrested a few days later. Iranian officials have since said that Ghavami, from London, was detained for security reasons unrelated to the volleyball match but no charges have been formally stated.
However, the 25-year-old, a law graduate, has decided to stop eating as a protest, her mother said in an emotive Facebook post late Sunday, which outlined fears for her daughter’s health.
“Yesterday, I finally saw my Ghoncheh. She said she’s been on a hunger strike since Wednesday. God, I can’t breathe,” Susan Moshtaghian wrote. “She said that she’s fed up with this 100 day uncertainty... I will not touch food either until the day that my Ghoncheh will break her hunger strike.”
Ghoncheh’s relatives have campaigned for her release on social media and have raised the case with Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The “Free Ghonche Ghavami” Facebook page features photographs of her against the slogan: “Jailed for wanting to watch a volleyball match.” “It’s been a while that she has no more interrogations but her detention has not ended,” Moshtaghian wrote. “God, you’ve been my witness, I have remained silent for 82 days so that my innocent daughter returns home.
“She hasn’t returned and now her life and health is in danger. I will no longer sit silently. God end this nightmare; give me strength to save the piece (sic) of my heart.”
In Sunday’s Facebook update, Ghavami’s mother said there had been attempts to dismiss her daughter’s lawyer, Alizadeh Tabatabaie, and to get her to accept new charges relating to her case.
Tabatabaie told AFP on Monday that he was barred from speaking to the foreign press. Ghavami’s arrest came after female fans and even women journalists were told they would not be allowed to attend the volleyball match.
Meanwhile, The National newspaper said Iran has released its correspondent Yeganeh Salehi on bail, while her husband, Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, remains in detention. The Abu Dhabi-based newspaper on Monday cited Ali Rezaian, Jason’s brother, as saying the 30-year-old reporter was freed on bail late last week.


UN officials appeal for Yemen funding amid pandemic

Updated 25 min 41 sec ago

UN officials appeal for Yemen funding amid pandemic

  • The United Nations says COVID-19 has likely already spread throughout most of Yemen
  • UN officials: What we don’t have is the money. We ask donors to pledge generously and pay pledges promptly

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Top officials from several UN agencies appealed Thursday for urgent international financial support in Yemen with coronavirus spreading in the war-torn country.
“We are increasingly alarmed about the situation in Yemen,” officials from the UN Humanitarian Affairs Department, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement.
“We are running out of time,” they said.
The United Nations says COVID-19 has likely already spread throughout most of Yemen, which was already immersed in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis because of a war that shows no sign of abating.
The UN officials said they currently have enough “skills, staff and capacity.”
“What we don’t have is the money. We ask donors to pledge generously and pay pledges promptly,” they said, noting that a donors conference has been organized for June 2 by Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.
Mark Lowcock, the under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said $2.4 billion needed to be raised by the end of the year for Yemen, including $180 million to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yemen is in desperate need of assistance,” Muhannad Hadi of the World Food Programme said, while UNICEF’s director, Henriette Fore, warned of a “major disaster.”
More than 12 million children in Yemen are in need of humanitarian aid, she said.
Before the pandemic, two million children lacked schools. Another five million have since been forced to quit school, she said.
Officially, 50 people have died from the new coronavirus in Yemen and infections have been reported in 10 of country’s 22 governorates.
“But testing and reporting remain limited and it is likely that most areas of the country are already impacted, if not all,” the United Nations reports.
Yemen has been engulfed in war since 2014 between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who control several regions including the capital Sanaa, and the government backed by an Arab coalition.