Middle East studies in the News
Concordia Professor Arrested and Held in Iran's Evin Prison [on Homa Hoodfar]
by P.A. Sevigny
Aside from a single press release that was released by her family, it's been nearly two weeks since anybody has heard anything from Concordia Professor Dr. Homa Hoodfar who was recently arrested by Iran's Revolutionary Guards and later detained in Iran's notorious Evin prison.
"Of course we're very worried about her," said Montreal lawyer Amanda Ghahremani. "My aunt is not a healthy woman. She already suffered a mild stroke last year and the authorities have (so far) not allowed her lawyer or her relatives to provide her with the medication she needs to deal with her medical condition."
Professor Hoodfar has Myasthenia Gravis – a rare neurological disease that's defined by a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular condition that affects and weakens (to a varying degree) the body's skeletal muscles.
According to Ghahremani, security forces from the Revolutionary Guards counter-intelligence unit first arrested Dr. Hoodfar in early March only days before she was due to leave the country and take the plane to go back to Montreal. During the initial arrest, they confiscated all of her personal belongings, including all three of her passports (Iran, Ireland and Canada), research documents and her personal computer. After posting bail, she was forbidden to leave the country after which she was subjected to several long and difficult interrogation sessions over the past three months.
As Dr. Hoodfar is a renowned anthropologist with a global reputation for her work on the role of women and the family in Muslim societies. Several sources believe her arrest was meant to play a role within the context of Iran's recent national elections during which many women were elected to the nation's Parliament. When asked , Ghahremani hesitated before she told The Suburban "... it's easy to generalize, but people should know that there are a lot of people involved in this situation and that above all, we must not do anything to annoy or embarrass the government."
A Canadian government spokesperson did send The Suburban a message in which she said that the government was "actively" engaged on the case and that the external affairs department remained in close contact with Dr. Hoodfar's family. Although security and privacy issues prevent the government from revealing any more details about the case, they did mention that "...that this case is a priority for us."Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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