'Today is a day to rejoice': Concordian Homa Hoodfar is free
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Concordia professor emerita Homa Hoodfar has left Iran's Evin Prison, where she was incarcerated for 112 days.
"Canadians are relieved that Dr. Hoodfar has been released from jail and will soon be reunited with her family, friends and colleagues."
Hoodfar's family says she is currently in Oman, with friends. She will be returning to Montreal on Thursday, September 29.
"We are overjoyed to learn that our colleague and friend Homa Hoodfar has been freed and is on her way to being reunited with her family. We are thankful to the thousands of people who signed petitions, wrote letters, attended rallies and called for her release. We are also thankful to the Government of Canada, Oman, Italy and Switzerland who worked so hard behind the scenes to realize this day."
"We look forward to welcoming Dr. Hoodfar on her return," he said.
"The university is thankful that the tireless efforts of governments, diplomats and colleagues across Canada and internationally were successful. The Concordia community — in particular faculty and staff members and unions — played a critical role in securing her release. This is a victory for academic freedom."
In the afternoon today, the news was applauded by Concordia’s Board of Governors, which approved a resolution unanimously recognizing the outstanding and tireless efforts of the university community: faculty, staff, students and alumni.
“There are no words to express how grateful we are that Homa is coming home,” said Board Chair Norman J. Hébert, Jr.
“On behalf of the Board, we extend our sincere appreciation to all those who worked tirelessly to secure her release. The caring and compassion of our university community in taking up this cause is to be commended.”
Hoodfar's colleague and friend Marguerite Mendell, professor and graduate program director for the School of Community and Public Affairs, said that when her husband called her with the news, they were both in tears, overwhelmed with relief.
"She's free! She's out of Iran. Today is a day to rejoice and celebrate."
After the 65-year-old's incarceration on June 6, more than 5,300 academics — including Noam Chomsky and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk — signed a petition urging the Government of Iran to free the anthropologist and allow her to return to Canada. A further 44,662 individuals sent messages through Amnesty International.
Early in September, Hoodfar’s fellow Concordia professors held a press conference to further raise awareness. The Concordia University Faculty Association (CUFA) has also been a major supporter of the campaign to secure her release.
According to Marc Lafrance, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hoodfar’s incarceration kept colleagues in a state of anxiety and sadness. Now, they are happily looking forward to her return.
"We can only imagine that the last 100 days have been extraordinarily traumatic. We will all be by her side. She will be surrounded by our love and friendship."
Lafrance thanked the media for keeping Hoodfar's story alive, and all the academics from around the world who came together to call for her immediate and unconditional release.
"In matters of human rights and academic freedom, we will not roll over," he said.