We are deeply concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of Homa Hoodfar, an eminent anthropologist and contributor to Middle East Report, by the Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Hoodfar traveled to Iran in early 2016 to visit family and conduct scholarly research. She was scheduled to depart the country on March 10, but on the preceding evening Revolutionary Guards officers went to her home and confiscated her passport, as well as her personal computer, cellular phone and other items. Since mid-March she has been repeatedly interrogated, apparently with the aim of tying her scholarly work and research to political activity of which the state disapproves.
Hoodfar was arrested on June 6 after being summoned for still another interrogation. She is being held incommunicado and without charge in Evin prison in Tehran. Neither her lawyer nor her family have been permitted to see her since her arrest, nor have they been given any reason why she is being detained. More worrisome is that Hoodfar’s family has not been allowed to give her the medication she needs to treat a chronic neurological condition.
Hoodfar is a professor of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal. She is a specialist in gender issues, including reproductive rights, family law and the role of women in politics, as well as the intersections of gender with development and public health. She has written for Middle East Report on such subjects on three occasions.
Homa Hoodfar’s arrest and detention are a violation of the rights to freedom of thought, opinion and speech guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a signatory. We join Amnesty International, the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association and other organizations in calling for her prompt, unconditional release and the immediate return of her passport and personal effects.
UPDATE: Amnesty International of Canada is hosting this petition calling for Homa Hoodfar’s release.