In Iran: Prof. Homa Hoodfar, jailed and ill in solitary confinement


CBC News has reported that a professor from Montreal who has been imprisoned in Iran since June was recently hospitalized, is barely conscious and can hardly walk or talk, according to family.
 Homa Hoodfar, an anthropologist at Concordia University, is being kept in solitary confinement nearly three months after her arrest in Tehran on June 6 while on a personal and research visit to Iran, said her niece, Amanda Ghahremani.
Hoodfar’s family says Iranian authorities have refused regular visits by her lawyer and have tried to dismiss him. During his one visit in July, he was forbidden to discuss her case and has been denied all access to her legal file, the family said. 
She has had only one other visitor, a few weeks ago, who informed the family Hoodfar had been hospitalized at one point before being returned to her cell. 
“It has become clear that the authorities are not prioritizing her health and do not intend to respect Homa’s due process rights under Iranian law,” Ghahremani said.
Hoodfar is 65 and suffers from a rare neurological disease called myasthenia gravis, which causes severe muscle weakness.
“My aunt is an academic. She’s not an activist,” Ghahremani said. “She has never violated any Iranian law. She’s always worked … within the parameters of the constitution and Islamic strictures.” 
Two days before her departure back to Canada in March, she was visited by the counter-intelligence unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, who seized her computer and passport and told her not to leave the country. After interrogation at Evin prison in June, she was arrested and since then has had no contact with her family.
Iranian authorities have charged her with collaborating with a hostile government against national security and with propaganda against the state — charges her family calls trumped-up.
The charges were never presented to her lawyer and instead were published in the Iranian press, quoting the prosecutor as saying Hoodfar was “dabbling in feminism”. A court set terms for her to be released on bail, but her lawyer’s numerous attempts to post bail have been ignored.
“We were asked by the Iranian judicial authorities to tone down the media on Homa’s case in order to allow the legal process to take its course,” Ghahremani said. “The court has blatantly and repeatedly violated Iran’s own laws.”

Editorial Team