Kameel Ahmady, a British-Iranian anthropologist living in Tehran has been arrested, with no charges announced. (Social Media)

By Niloufar Rostami

September 21, 2019

The wife of Kameel Ahmady, the British-Iranian anthropologist arrested on August 11, has been allowed to visit her husband, IranWire has learned.

Shafagh Rahmani said her husband’s work, which included research on common law marriage and female genital mutilation, was known to the authorities, and he had obtained permission to publish his books from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

Rahmani told IranWire that after close to a month she had been allowed to meet her husband on Sunday, September 8, for 50 minutes at Evin Courthouse. Security agents were present in the room during their meeting so Ahmady was not able to talk freely about his situation or the charges brought against him.

According to Rahmani, Ahmady told her that he was no longer under interrogation and that he had been transferred from solitary confinement to a cell at Evin Prison, which he shares with three other inmates.

Three days after the meeting, Ahmadi’s temporary arrest order was renewed for another month. “When we met, both Kameel and I were hopeful that he would be released on bail,” Rahmani said. “Kameel told me that his interrogations were complete and we had high hopes for his release on bail. But, contrary to what I had expected, I heard on Wednesday, September 11, that the detention order has been renewed for one month.”

I was able to meet my husband because I was persistent in requesting it,” Rahmani said. “At 10am on Sunday they brought Kameel to the courthouse, escorted by guards. My son and I met him in a room at the courthouse in the presence of security agents. Thank God, as far as I could see Kameel was in good physical and mental condition. But, of course, he could not talk easily in front of the agents. The interrogations were focused on his research work. Kameel said that all his works had been published with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.”

Kameel Ahmady was born in the Kurdish city of Mahabad in the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan. He studied publishing and economics and holds a BA from the University of London and an MA in Social Anthropology and Visual Anthropology from the University of Kent in Canterbury. He has expressed his opposition to child marriage and concubinage and referred to common law marriage on his Instagram page. In recent years, Ahmady has written and published books on common law marriage, the LGBT community in Iran, female genital mutilation and child marriage.

According to his wife,  Ahmadi became a British national about 25 years ago but he has been living in Iran except “for short visits to London for the last 15 years.” The couple have a three-year-old son.

A Prolific Scholar

Ahmady’s most recent book is A House in the Shadow: A Comprehensive Research Study On White Marriage (Cohabitation) In Iran. The book, in Persian, was published in London after his arrest.

Ahmady is the recipient of the 2017 Truth Honour Award presented by the London Law University and the Iranian Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. In 2018 he also received an award from George Washington University for his books and articles on sexuality, children and ethnic minorities.

Ahmady’s works include A Comprehensive Research Study on Female Genital Mutilation In IranA Comprehensive Research Study On Early Child Marriage In IranA Comprehensive Research Study on Temporary Marriage In IranA Comprehensive Research Study On Lesbians, Gays and Bisexual In Iran and A Comprehensive Study on Identity and Ethnicity in Iran. Some of his books have been translated into English, Turkish and Arabic.

Kameel Ahmady is one of several dual nationals and Iranians who reside in foreign countries to have been jailed in Iran. They include:

– Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, British-Iranian, sentenced to five years in prison in 2016

– Aras Amiri, a British resident who was arrested in March 2019 and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison

– Fariba Adelkhah, French-Iranian academic, arrested in July 2019

– Siamak Namazi, Iranian-American, jailed in 2016 along with his father Baquer Namazi. Siamak Namazi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison

– Massud Mossaheb, Iranian-Austrian, arrested in January 2019

– Kamran Ghaderi, Iranian-Austrian, arrested in January 2016, and sentenced to 10 years in prison

– Ahmad Reza Jalali, a disaster relief specialist and a resident of Sweden, sentenced to death

In addition, Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian, died in prison in early 2018 in suspicious circumstances.

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.