After a meeting with Canada’s foreign affairs minister and another top official, the niece of a Canadian professor imprisoned in Iran says she remains concerned but hopeful that her aunt will be released.
Concordia University researcher Homa Hoodfar, 65, was arrested earlier this month and placed in Evin prison, the same prison where Montreal photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died in 2003 after she was the victim of rape and torture.
Amanda Ghahremani, Hoodfar’s niece, told CTV News Channel Thursday that her aunt is being held in a specific ward of Evin that is run by counter-intelligence units of the Revolutionary Guard.
Ghahremani said there has been no official confirmation of the charges her aunt faces, but that media with links to the Revolutionary Guard have stated she is accused of “fomenting a feminist soft revolution.”
Hoodfar is known for her research on women in Islamic societies and has campaigned against Iran’s practice of stoning people to death for crimes such as adultery.
Ghahremani, who is a human rights lawyer, said the accusations against her aunt are “baseless.”
Ghahremani said she and her family are very concerned about Hoodfar’s psychological and physical well-being, noting that they don’t know whether she is receiving medicine she needs for a neurological condition.
Ghahremani said that her meeting this week with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion and Parliamentary Secretary Omar Alghabra left her “hopeful they will do what they can to help my aunt.”
She added that she is also hopeful the Irish government will assist. Hoodfar holds Canadian, Irish and Iranian citizenship.
Canada has maintained no official presence in Iran, after closing its embassy in Tehran in 2012 to protest against Iran’s non-compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions on the country’s nuclear program. The Liberals have said they plan to re-establish ties.
Hoodfar went to Iran to visit family members and to research at the country’s parliamentary library archives, according to Ghahremani.