By Nick Butler

Ghoncheh Ghavami has embarked on a second hunger strike in order to draw attention to her sentence ©Change.orgGhoncheh Ghavami, the British-Iranian woman sentenced to a year in jail for attempting to attend a volleyball match, is again refusing either food or liquids to draw attention to her plight.

It is the second such hunger strike the 25-year-old law graduate has embarked upon since her arrest, and follows her lawyer revealing on Sunday (November 2) that she has been sentenced to one year behind bars, although an official verdict remains still to be given.

Ghavami was arrested on June 20 after attending an International Volleyball Association (FIVB) League match, and was held for over 120 days at the Evin Prison in Tehran before news of her sentence emerged.

Women have been banned from attending volleyball matches in Iran since 2012, when a quarter-of-a-century old rule banning female attendance at football matches was extended.

"She's been on hunger strike from Saturday (November 1)," her brother Iman told AFP. 

"She's not eating any solid foods and she's not drinking any liquids."

A series of images calling for the 25-year-old's release have been posted on the "Free Ghoncheh Ghavami" Facebook page ©FacebookA series of images calling for the 25-year-old's release have been posted on the "Free Ghoncheh Ghavami" Facebook page ©Facebook

The incident has created a worldwide storm, with an online petition set up by her brother, and entitled "Bring my sister home; #FreeGhonchehGhavami خواهرم را به خانه برگردانید" having garnered over 713,000 signatures.

It comes at a time when the Iranian Government is attempting to improve its international image, including with regard to human rights.

The FIVB sent a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani calling for her release, which they are yet to receive an answer for, while there was a standing ovation in support during the recent FIVB Congress in Cagliari.

This approach has been praised by the Facebook group, also entitled "Free Ghoncheh Ghavami".

They called for "a big thanks to President [Ary S] Graça and the international volleyball community from Ghoncheh's friends and also those who believe women have equal right to watch and participate in sports".

But the FIVB have so far not commented on the sentence given to Ghavami and whether they are going to take any action against Iran.

A similar letter has been sent by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran, although it is thought they are also yet to receive a reply. 

IOC Communications Director Mark Adams told insidethegames "the IOC has been in touch with the FIVB regarding this matter from the very beginning and we hope the issue will soon be resolved". 

A time when there is much focus on the wider role of sporting bodies, the issue is a test for both organisations as to how far their political influence actually extends. 

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