Dublin protest over detention of Irish citizen in Iran

Prof Homa Hoodfar held on charges including collaborating with hostile government

Protest outside the Iranian embassy in Dublin by academics against the incarceration of Prof Homa Hoodfar. Photograph: The Irish Times

Protest outside the Iranian embassy in Dublin by academics against the incarceration of Prof Homa Hoodfar. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Academics protested outside the Iranian embassy in Dublin on Wednesday about the prolonged detention of Prof Homa Hoodfar, an anthropologist, who is an Irish, Iranian and Canadian citizen.

Representatives from institutions including Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University and Dublin Institute of Technology were in attendance and the protest was held in conjunction with action by academics at universities in Canada.

Prof Hoodfar, who specialises in gender and family issues, has been in custody since June 6th, when she was arrested in Tehran.

The 65-year-old is detained at Evin prison on charges of collaborating with a hostile government against national security and with propaganda against the state.

She became an Irish citizen through marriage to an Irish man and her family have said she has a “deep bond” with the Irish community in the UK.

They have also said her health is deteriorating; she suffers from a rare neurological condition – myasthenia gravis – that requires close medical supervision and medication.

The Sociological Association of Ireland has expressed its concern for her wellbeing and safety.

Parliamentary archives

The association said Prof Hoodfar, who works in Montreal, went to Iran to visit her family earlier this year and carry out historical research in the Iranian Parliamentary Archives.

“We understand that in early March 2016, she was taken for interrogation and her passports, computer and other things confiscated,” it said.

“Since then Prof Hoodfar has been subjected to repeated interrogations and accusations, for which no evidence has been presented.”

The association said neither her lawyer nor her family have been granted permission to visit her or provide her medication.

“Furthermore, their inquiries about the reason for Professor Hoodfar’s arrest and the charges against her have remained unanswered,” it said.

“We urge the Government of Ireland to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of this distinguished scholar, and achieve her immediate and unconditional release.”

In Canada, Kimberley Manning, principal of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Quebec, highlighted growing awareness of Prof Hoodfar’s situation.

“Over the course of the summer, over 5,000 academics signed a petition calling for Homa’s release, including notable public intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Nobel laureates such as Orhan Pamuk.”

She said the protest in Dublin was just the beginning of a series of national and international events over the coming weeks.

Asked about its work to progress Prof Hoodfar’s case, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it was “actively engaged on the case”.