Professor jailed in Iran for 'feminism' returns to Canada

Professor jailed in Iran for 'feminism' returns to Canada
3 min read
30 September, 2016
Academic Homa Hoodfar who faced prolonged detention in Iran's notorious Evin prison on charges of 'dabbling in feminism' has returned home to Canada.
Hoodfar spent 112 days imprisoned in Iran [AFP]

A Canadian-Iranian professor jailed in Iran for "dabbling in feminism" has returned home to Montreal after a brief stopover in Oman.

Homa Hoodfar, a professor of anthropology at Concordia University, travelled to Iran in February to see family and conduct academic research.

She was arrested in March just before her scheduled return trip to Canada.

Hoodfar was later released on bail only to be arrested once again in early June.

Iranian authorities accused Hoodfar of "collaborating with a hostile government against the interests of Iranian national security" and with "spreading propaganda".

However, these charges were never made clear to Hoodfar's lawyer with the Iranian press instead saying she was prosecuted for "dabbling in feminism".


"It's wonderful to be home and united with family and friends again," said Hoodfar during a news conference at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport upon her arrival in Canada.

"I didn't feel I would be released until I was in the jet. As they say, in Iran, nothing is possible and everything is possible…I've had a bitter seven months and the detention has left me weak and tired."

Hoodfar left Iran on Monday and spent  four days in Oman before returning to Canada.

Speaking in Montreal on Friday she thanked both the Canadian and Omani governments for their efforts towards securing her release.

I didn't feel I would be released until I was in the jet. As they say, in Iran, nothing is possible and everything is possible…I've had a bitter seven months and the detention has left me weak and tired.
Homa Hoodfar, Canadian-Iranian anthropology professor jailed in Iran



A private meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting last week is said to have been instrumental to the process.

"After months and months and months of nothing, then it happened," a high-level Canadian government source told Canadian news network CBC.

"He [bin Alawi] wanted to help and he did."

During her stay in the notorious Evin Prison Hoodfar said she was detained in solitary confinement, was prevented from speaking to her lawyer and family.

She was denied access to medication for a neurological condition. Hoodfar's deteriorating level of health eventually led her to be hospitalised in August.

Canada has had no formal diplomatic relations with Iran since September 2012. At that time Ottawa severed ties with Tehran citing Iran's material support to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, non-compliance with UN regulations regarding its nuclear programme, and fears for Canadian diplomats in Iran following an attack on UK embassy in the country.

Iran does not recognise dual nationalities and holders of foreign passports arrested in the country are not granted consular assistance.

In the past, cases against dual nationals have been conducted in Iran behind closed doors in Revolutionary Courts in charge of handling cases involving attempts to overthrow the incumbent government.