The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that Iranian authorities have kept detaining British-Kurdish anthropologist Kameel Ahmady in “solitary confinement,” and that his whereabouts remain unknown to the public and his family.
Ahmady’s family has not been able to find out information on the charges he is facing and where he has been held. Their requests to meet him have been ignored. Additionally, prosecutors have refused Ahmady’s family’s request to hire lawyers for him.
Kameel Ahmady, a British researcher and anthropologist of Iranian Kurdish origin, was arrested in Tehran on Aug 11 without specific charges brought against him. His temporary arrest warrant was issued by Ali Qanaatkar, prosecutor of branch 1 of Evin Court.
Ahmady’s wife, Shafaq Rahmani, has been desperately trying to meet her husband as she follows his case in Tehran.
“Since the day after Kameel’s detention, I have regularly visited the Evin Public Prosecutor’s Office, but I was only allowed to meet with the prosecutor or the prosecuting attorney a few times. However, I have not received a clear answer about my husband’s charges and his whereabouts other than being told that he was charged with a security-related issue and was held by one of the security agencies,” She told KHRN.
Since his arrest, Ahmady has been able to talk to his wife and children three times over the phone. During these conversations, he allegedly had to speak Farsi with his wife in the presence of an interrogator.
“Despite the fact that Kameel [Ahmady] and I speak Kurdish, he speaks Farsi during his phone conversations with me and he is only allowed to speak in Kurdish with our youngest child who does not speak Farsi.”
Ahmady’s wife revealed that her husband has been kept in “solitary confinement,” and that she has submitted an official request to the public prosecutor’s office for a medical examination to be granted to her husband.
“I asked Mohammad Saleh Nikbakht and Amir Raeesian to represent Ahmady, both of whom accepted my request with great respect. But today, when I was allowed to visit the prosecutor, which is a week later, and handed him the attorneys’ letters, he [the official] refused to accept them and said that the lawyers themselves should refer to him. It is noteworthy that Mr. Raisian accompanied me to the prosecutor’s office last week but we were told that he was not on the list of trusted judicial lawyers to access security cases,” she added.
In addition to the follow-up of Ahmady’s family, his wife, who is a political scientist, has been able to meet with members of the Islamic Consultative Women’s Group last week as part of a public meeting in the parliament building. Representatives at the meeting promised her that they would pursue Ahmady’s case; nonetheless the follow-up has so far led to no results.
Earlier in an interview with IRNA Plus, Tayeeb Siavoshi, a member of the Iranian parliament, said that he would follow up Ahmady’s case upon requests by his family and friends.
“If someone asks us, whether a family member or a friend, we will follow-up the case. We interact with various agencies such as the judiciary, the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Intelligence, so we usually convey people’s requests, but neither a family member nor any of his friends have asked us to follow-up Ahmady’s case. All the members of the parliament will follow-up cases if people resort to help.”
Ahmady, from Iran’s Mahabad and a naturalised British citizen who lived in Tehran prior to his arrest, had worked on research projects on topics related to issues around female genital mutilation, childbearing and “white marriage” in Iran over the past few years.
According to his personal website, Kameel he was recently worked on two research projects entitled “the Story of the Forbidden City” on LGBT community in Iran- and “From Border to Frontier” – A Comprehensive Research on Identity and Ethnicity in Iran.
In 2018, Ahmady won the World Peace Foundation’s Literature and Humanities Award at the George Washington University for his research and work in the field of social harm, emphasising gender, children and minorities.