Detained Anthropologist Kameel Ahmady Worked Independently and Transparently, Says Wife
Except for a one-minute phone call from Evin Prison, Iranian-British social anthropologist Kameel Ahmady has had no contact with his family since he was detained on August 11, 2019, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
The authorities have also refused to tell his family why he was detained.
“I was traveling when Kameel was arrested,” Shafagh Rahmani, Ahmady’s wife, told CHRI on August 14. “I came back home on Monday and on Tuesday I went to the court in Evin Prison to ask about his situation. The [judicial authorities] did not respond to my questions. They told me that his case had to do with national security and he was arrested by intelligence agents.”
She continued: “When I asked if that was the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ intelligence organization or the Intelligence Ministry, they said is there a difference? I said it makes a difference to me and they didn’t say anything back. They said a one-month detention order had been issued against him and it was probably going to be extended. I asked why my husband hadn’t called me yet. They said he would.”
“That same day [August 13], around 6:30 in the evening, Kameel called me,” she added. “He spoke just for a minute and said he was feeling fine and asked me to get him a lawyer. I need to be informed of my husband’s situation and his case. I want to see and speak to him.”
Rahmani told CHRI that her husband “did not work for any governmental organization” and all his research studies were published independently and with the permission of the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry.
“I really don’t know why he was arrested,” she said. “He was an independent researcher and everything he did was transparent and in the open. He had never been detained, summoned or threatened before.”
Rahmani also said that her husband resides in Iran with his family.
“Kameel got British citizenship 25 years ago but during the past 15 years he has traveled to the UK only a few times,” Rahmani said.
Born in the Kurdish city of Mahabad in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province, Ahmady notes on his website that he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Arts London and his masters from the University of Kent, Canterbury-UK.
His research has focused on politically sensitive issues including child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), topics on which he has published books.
In 2017, he also produced a documentary about FGM in northwestern Iran.
His most recent book on the practice of “white marriages” (couples living together who are not legally married) in Iran was published in 2018.
In October 2018, Ahmady received a first-place award in the literary category from the Global Woman Peace Foundation for his research on gender, children and minority issues.
This article was updated on August 29, 2019
*Read this article in Persian.