Canadian and Irish academic communities have taken further initiatives to speak out against the arrest of Homa Hoodfar, Iranian-Canadian professor who is currently held prisoner in Iran.
Early September a group of academics gathered in front of the Iranian embassy in Ireland to protest the detention of Homa Hoodfar and call for her release. Hoodfar also holds Irish citizenship.
The detained professor’s colleagues in Concordia University in Montreal have also started a campaign for her release. The campaign has so far collected five thousand signatures from various universities across the world demanding Hoodfar’s immediate and unconditional release.
The Montreal Gazette reports Concordia University Faculty Association (CUFA) has expressed serious concern about the detention of Hoodfar. The report quotes Charles Draimin saying CUFA has made Hoodfar’s release a priority for the group. “We have no illusions about the difficulty of bringing her back to Canada — but we won’t give up,” Draimin said.
Canadian government’s efforts have been bogged down however due to the strained diplomatic relations with Iran in the absence of a Canadian embassy and diplomatic presence in Tehran.
In an earlier petition 170 prominent world academics including Leila Ahmad, Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk urged the Islamic Republic government to release Homa Hoodfar and facilitate her return to Canada. A similar request has been issued to the Iranian government by the Canadian branch of Amnesty International.
Homa Hoodfar, 65, is a professor of anthropology in Concordia University with focusing on gender and family issues. She travelled to Iran from Canada following the passing of her husband in Montreal. She was arrested briefly last March and was banned upon her release from travelling abroad. She was then subjected to several interrogations and finally arrested last June and has been in Evin Prison since.
There is grave concern regarding Hoodfar’s health in prison. She is reported to suffer from myasthenia gravis, a rare neurological condition which requires close medical supervision and medication.
Iranian authorities do not recognize dual citizenship and Iranians holding dual citizenship when travelling to Iran are deemed only subject to Iranian laws and not regarded by Iran eligible for diplomatic services of other countries.