Concordia University

‘We continue to support all efforts to secure Homa Hoodfar's return'

The Concordia community calls for the immediate release of the professor emerita from prison in Iran
September 15, 2016
By Tom Peacock


101 days.

That’s how long Homa Hoodfar, a 65-year-old professor emerita at Concordia, has spent alone, behind bars, in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

Members of the Concordia community have joined an international clarion call for her immediate release.

So far, 5,300 academics, including public intellectual Noam Chomsky and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, have signed a petition urging the Iranian government to free the anthropologist and allow her to return to Canada. More than 41,000 individuals have sent messages through Amnesty International.

Last week, several of Hoodfar’s fellow professors held a press conference at Concordia to further raise awareness of her plight. Montreal news outlets, including The Montreal Gazette and Radio Canada, covered the event.

Marc Lafrance, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, told the media that Hoodfar’s colleagues have been suspended in a state of anxiety and sadness since her arrest.

“This has been especially true of some of my more senior colleagues, who have had the honour and the privilege of working alongside Homa for over 30 years,” he said. “Watching Homa disappear behind the dark curtain of detainment — in one of the world’s most dangerous prisons — has kept them up at night for many months now.”

The press conference came following a protest mounted by Irish academics on the steps of the Iranian Embassy in Dublin earlier the same day.

“Many people in Ireland are deeply concerned about Professor Hoodfar’s welfare,” said Emer O’Toole, a professor in Concordia’s School of Irish Studies, who was in contact with organizers there.

“They too hope that these baseless charges will be dropped against Homa and that she will be able to return home as quickly as possible.”

Kimberley Manning, principal of Concordia’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute, pointed out that all across Canada and around the world, academics are joining in the fight.

“I am getting emails from friends and colleagues from across the country wanting to know how to help. We see the protest this morning in Dublin as just the beginning of a series of national and international events that will take place over the coming weeks.”

Two representatives from the Concordia University Faculty Association (CUFA), Charles Draimin and Françoise Naudillon, were also present and spoke at the press conference. CUFA has been a major supporter of the campaign to secure Hoodfar's release.

Academic freedom

Concordia’s president Alan Shepard issued a second public statement last week, amid growing fears that the anthropologist will not survive her ordeal.

“Universities across the globe hold academic freedom as inherent to our existence” he stated in his message. “We continue to support all efforts underway to secure Dr. Hoodfar’s return to Canada and we renew our call for the immediate release of our colleague.”


Sign the academic petition. (Scroll down for French.)

Sign the student petition.

Send a message through Amnesty International.

Sign the Avaaz petition. (Scroll down for French.)






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