Free Dr. Homa Hoodfar, a 65-year-old professor of anthropology, who holds Irish citizenship was arrested in Iran on 6 June following months of questioning by the Revolutionary Guards. She is being held in the notorious Evin Prison with no access to her family or lawyer, and is likely in solitary confinement. She is a prisoner of conscience. Dr. Homa Hoodfar is a prominent and respected scholar and anthropologist at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, whose decades-long teaching and research activities relate to development, culture, gender, and electoral politics. She holds Canadian, Irish and Iranian citizenship.
Dr. Homa Hoodfar was arrested on 6 June in Tehran after being verbally summoned to the Office of the Prosecutor in Tehran’s Evin Prison. She went to the prison with her lawyer who was not allowed to be present when she was taken away for questioning by officials from the Revolutionary Guards. When her lawyer requested to see Dr. Homa Hoodfar, after several hours had passed, prison officials told him to go home. They told him he was no longer allowed to see her because she was a “security prisoner”. All subsequent attempts by her family and lawyer to see her, including giving her personal items such as clothes and medication, have been denied by officials. Though she has not been heard from since her arrest, Amnesty International believes that she may be held in Section 2-A of Evin Prison, which is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards, as is common practice for such detainees.
Irish citizen, Dr. Homa Hoodfar travelled to Iran on 11 February primarily to visit her family but also to conduct historical research on women’s participation in elections since 1906. On the evening of 9 March, the day before she was due to leave Iran, officers from the Counter Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards raided her home and confiscated her personal belongings, including three passports, mobile phone and computer. For the next three days, she was repeatedly summoned for questioning. During these interrogations, in which she was not allowed to have a lawyer present, she was asked about her work and about the emails that the authorities had found in her computer. Her interrogators also asked her questions such as “Are you a feminist?” and “What is feminism?”
Dr. Homa Hoodfar has a neurological condition called myasthenia gravis, which is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that affects the nerves and muscles, causing certain muscles to become weak. Her family has not been allowed to take her the medication she needs to help control the symptoms. There are serious concerns that while in detention she may not receive the specialized medical care she needs for a neurological condition.
Research is not a crime. No one should be targeted for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association. Amnesty International considers Dr. Hoodfar to be a prisoner of conscience.
Join our call for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Homa Hoodfar.