Concordia rally calls for release of Homa Hoodfar from Iranian prison
Montreal university professor recently hospitalized after time in solitary confinement following June arrest
Supporters of Homa Hoodfar, the Montreal academic imprisoned in Iran since June, took to the streets outside Concordia University Wednesday to call for her release.
The gathering took place at Bethune Square at the corner of de Maisonneuve Boulevard West and Guy Street.
The rally united around 300 friends, students and colleagues of the jailed Concordia anthropology professor, who is being kept in solitary confinement and whose health is reportedly failing. It also featured the Vermont-based Bread and Puppet Theatre.
In a news release, organizers said their key demand is for Hoodfar's "safe and speedy release from prison."
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"She is a gentle, kind, loving person," said Fay Devlin, who drove from Ottawa to support Hoodfar, who taught her at McGill University in the late 1980s.
The charges were never presented to her lawyer and instead were published in the Iranian press, quoting the prosecutor as saying Hoodfar was "dabbling in feminism."
Hoodfar writes frequently on sexuality and gender in Islam. She went to Iran in February to see family and conduct research in a visit that coincided with Iranian elections.
"Prof. Hoodfar's teachings have been, above all else, respectful, firsthand accounts of the intricacies of Muslim women's lives for the betterment of cross-cultural understanding," rally organizers said in their news release.
"It is with heavy hearts that we read about, and imagine the suffering to which our beloved professor and mentor is subjected."
Former Director of McGill's Centre for Developing-Area Studies Rosalind Boyd, a longtime friend and colleague of the jailed academic, said she's actively working with political leaders in her network to win Hoodfar's release.
"It's an internal struggle that she's caught up in," she said. "I'm optimistic for the people of Iran, many of which elected this more open government and obviously they want to have a more open society.
"But there are always hardliners in that complexity, so I don't know what's going to happen but I believe in human endurance," Boyd said.
With files from Elysha Enos