Canadian Iranian professor Homa Hoodfar set to land in Montreal this morning

By on September 29, 2016

Two days before Homa Hoodfar (in photo) was due to fly out of Tehran in March, Iran's Revolutionary Guard raided her home, seizing her belongings and questioning her. (Photo: Concordia University)
Homa Hoodfar was released earlier this week and flown out of Iran to Oman. (File photo: Concordia University)

MONTREAL—A Canadian-Iranian woman who spent nearly four months in prison in Iran is set to land in Montreal this morning.

Homa Hoodfar was released earlier this week and flown out of Iran to Oman.

The retired anthropology professor is scheduled to hold a news conference at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport at 8:30 a.m. eastern.

Hoodfar had been detained since June 6 at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison on allegations of “dabbling in feminism” and security matters.

Hoodfar, 65, is known for her research on Muslim women in various regions of the world and there have been suggestions Iranian authorities were particularly struck by her research on homosexuality and women’s sexuality in the context of Muslim countries.

She travelled to Iran in February to see family and do academic research but was arrested in March, just as she was set to return to Montreal. She was released on bail and then rearrested in early June.

Her family had feared the worst in recent weeks, saying her health was deteriorating while in solitary confinement.

Hoodfar suffers from a neurological condition and recent reports suggested she was “barely able to walk or talk.”

The state-run Oman News Agency published pictures of Hoodfar arriving in Muscat, the Omani capital, on an air force jet, walking under her own power and being greeted by her niece.

Since Canada has no diplomatic presence in Iran, the governments of Oman, Italy and Switzerland stepped in to help secure her release.

Canada has not had an embassy in Iran since 2012, when the Stephen Harper-led Conservative government cut diplomatic ties over Tehran’s contested nuclear program and other issues.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement earlier this week the Canadian government had “actively” worked for Hoodfar’s release.

Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, meaning those detained cannot receive consular assistance.

Trudeau also recognized “the co-operation of those Iranian authorities” who helped her cause.

Iran’s state-run news agency, IRNA, reported Monday that Hoodfar had been freed from prison on humanitarian grounds.

Hoodfar’s supporters had pressed diplomats to discuss her case during the recent United Nations General Assembly in New York and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on the sidelines of the meeting last Wednesday.