Tom King, BA Politics
Former SOAS student Ghoncheh Ghavami has now been on hunger strike for over a week after being detained in Iran for more than 100 days.
The SOAS alum was arrested in June after attempting to watch a men’s volleyball match. Ghavami was transferred to Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison, where she spent 41 days in solitary confinement.
Her family has confirmed she has been on hunger strike since Wednesday 1 October. Her mother said Ghavami was “fed up with this 100 day uncertainty” and has pledged to join her in abstaining from food. Ghavami has been denied visits for over 20 days according to the Facebook page demanding her release.
Students at SOAS are set to hold a ‘day of action’ and take part in a solidarity hunger strike on Friday 10 October to show support for Ghavami, who studied Law at the School. A rally will be held on the SOAS steps at 1pm and it is expected a motion will be passed at the UGM later in the day to demand her release.
Ghavami has joint British-Iranian nationality and the Foreign Office say they have raised concerns with Iran over her detention. However, the lack of official diplomatic relations between the two countries and the Iranian government’s refusal to recognise dual citizenships means it is unlikely any British intervention will be effective.
Iranian authorities have indicated she may face months more in prison before her case is heard. Amnesty International states that Ghavami is yet to be formally charged with an offence but is under investigation for “propaganda against the state” for her involvement in the Azadi Stadium protest.