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The New Arab Staff

British-Iranian academic who fled Iran accused of sexual abuse

Kameel Ahmady is a researcher whose work covers child marriage and female genital mutiliation. [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 February, 2021

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Kameel Ahmady, a researcher whose work covers child marriage and female genital mutilation, has been accused of being a "sexual predator".
A renowned British-Iranian anthropologist has been accused of sexual abuse by a number of women, who say he must be stopped from working with women and other vulnerable groups, a report by The Guardian revealed on Friday.

Kameel Ahmady, a researcher whose work covers child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), had escaped Iran after he was sentenced to nine years in prison for involvement in "destructive" research work.

Four women have told the UK-based newspaper that Ahmady, now residing in London, had sexually assaulted and harassed them.

"Friends and colleagues of the women support their accounts, saying they were told about three of the alleged assaults and multiple cases of alleged harassment before survivors made their stories public," the report stated.

"They say they fear that when he restarts research, other women could be at risk. Although he cannot return to Iran, many of the issues he has studied affect cross-border communities in the region, where he could continue working."

Ahmady has denied the allegations, which have triggered his suspension from Iran's Sociology Association, but The Guardian claims that in a now-deleted social media post Ahmady had apologised for "mistakes in the workplace" and for "hurting people with my relaxed attitude to relationships."

He now alledges that the accusations against him have been organised by the Iranian state to "ruin his reputation and delegitimise his work".

In a testimony, one woman told the paper: "When I heard about his other [alleged] victims, and the fact that they were being largely, if not completely ignored, I could not bottle it up any longer.

"Every single thing I know about [Ahmady] makes their testimonies credible. He is a predator and a serial abuser. I am so afraid that he will go on to have other opportunities to work with vulnerable women, and hurt them the way he hurt me."

Similar claims had already surfaced during the rise of the #MeToo movement, when around seven accusations against him were posted on social media accounts anonymously.

These were then investigated by Iran's Sociology Association, who then suspensed his membership.

"[His] behaviour resulted in the sexual abuse of several young researchers and violated ethical codes governing scientific and research activities," the group said.

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