In The Media

Iran frees Concordia Professor

by P.A. Sevigny (feat. Kyle Mathews)

The Suburban
September 27, 2016

Concordia professor Homa Hoodfar was released from prison this past Monday “...on humanitarian grounds,” and is presently on a plane back to Canada. According to assorted local news reports, the Canadian government confirmed the news late last Monday morning after which Prime Minister Trudeau issued a statement in which he thanked several other nations, including Italy, Oman and Switzerland, who did what they could to get the Canadian professor released from prison.

“In the absence of diplomatic representation of its own in Iran, Canada worked closely with others who were instrumental in helping secure Dr. Hoodfar’s release,” wrote the Prime Minister on the social media networks. “I would also like to recognize the cooperation of those Iranian authorities who facilitated her release and repatriation. They understand that cases like these tend to impede more productive relations.”

As reported in earlier editions of The Suburban, Hoodfar travelled to Iran in order to visit family and friends and to do a bit of academic research when she was originally stopped and detained for questioning only three days before she was supposed to leave the country. After authorities seized her passport and computer, she was later arrested and detained after which she was later accused “...of supporting a feminist revolution” in Iran’s Islamic Republic. The case was further complicated by the fact that Hoodfar also suffers from a rare neurological disorder that causes severe muscle weakness that left her weak and vulnerable to further infections that could have easily threatened her life because she lacked adequate medical care. At one point, her family reported that she could hardly walk or even talk while she was being kept in solitary confinement in Teheran’s notorious Evin jail.

As the Concordia professor is a well-known academic with a global reputation for her work on the status of women within Muslim societies, there was an immediate outcry from the entire Canadian academic community which began to exert its influence upon the Trudeau administration to get Professor Hoodfar out of jail and back to Canada. In an open letter that was meant to be sent to his office later this week, Montreal’s Institute for Genocide Studies (MIGS) wished to remind the Prime Minister that Hoodfar’s arrest was a blatant violation of her fundamental human rights as the arrest did not comply with international law or even with Iran’s legal standards.

“This is a call for action to your government,” wrote Concordia’s Kyle Matthews who is the Institute’s Senior Deputy Director. “The incarceration of Homa Hoodfar stands for the oppression of the freedom of expression and academic research, as the denial of human rights and the right to emancipation and the equal treatment of women.”

During a Monday afternoon phone call, Matthews told The Suburban that he was pleased that he would not have to send the letter after he heard the news about Hoodfar’s release.

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