CUFA Press Release – Imprisonment of our colleague, Dr. Homa Hoodfar

Press Release


Montreal (10 June 2016) – For immediate release


Concordia University Professor Arrested and Detained in Iran’s Evin Prison


Dr. Homa Hoodfar, a Professor Emeritus at Concordia University, has been arrested and detained in Iran since Monday, 6 June 2016. Since her initial arrest and release on bail in early March 2016, when her passport was seized and her phone, computer and books were confiscated, Dr. Hoodfar has been subjected to numerous lengthy and grueling interrogations. Prohibited from leaving the country, Hoodfar has now been arrested again and we do not know under what charges.


The basis for this arrest and detention has not been explained and her family and lawyer have not been allowed to see her. Hoodfar also does not have access to a prescription medication she must take for a rare neurological illness (Myasthenia Gravis); having recently suffered a mild stroke, her deteriorating health while in the prison is of grave concern.


The allegations being made against Dr. Hoodfar are completely unfounded; Hoodfar has been a highly respected member of the Concordia community since 1991, an internationally renowned and prolific anthropologist admired by colleagues and students alike for the evenhanded and rigorous approach she takes in her ethnographic work. Her research, which focuses on women in Middle Eastern societies, is exclusively academic and in no way political or subversive; in fact, she has worked assiduously throughout her career to dispel stereotypes about the Middle East through purely scholarly pursuits.


Professor Hoodfar was in Iran for a family visit, but was also conducting historical and archival research on women’s participation in public life, which coincided with a time when a number of women had just been elected to the Iranian parliament. She is innocent of the allegations being made against her and is being held unjustly. We are outraged by these developments and consider her arrest to be a grievous assault on her academic freedom. Along with the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU), and our sister faculty associations throughout Quebec, Canada, and the world, we call upon The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and The Right Honourable Prime Minister Trudeau to act in a concerted and swift manner to secure Dr. Hoodfar’s immediate and unconditional release.


Media inquiries:


Charles Draimin: 514.778.2795