A Montreal-based university professor imprisoned in Iran has been hospitalized due to “rapidly declining health,” according to her family.
In a statement released Tuesday, Homa Hoodfar’s family said the 65-year-old was disoriented, severely weakened, and could hardly walk or talk. Her family also claims requests for a check-up by a specialist have been ignored and it’s unclear if she is receiving her medication regularly.
“The continued solitary incarceration and the illegal psychological pressure applied by the presiding judge to break her and confess to these fabricated charges are of great concern to professor Hoodfar’s family, friends, and the thousands of colleagues and activists worldwide who have signed petitions and letters of protests against the outrageous treatment of this renowned scholar,” read the statement.
Hoodfar traveled to Iran to visit family and conduct academic research in February. She was initially arrested in March, shortly before she was to return home, but was released on bail. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized her passports — she holds Canadian, Iranian and Irish passports — along with a computer and iPad, and subjected her to repeated day-long interrogations about her work and research.
She was arrested again on June 6 and charged with collaborating with a hostile government against national security and of propaganda against the state.
She is being held in Evin prison — a place associated with acts of torture, solitary confinement and forced confessions.
WATCH: Family concerned for Homa Hoodfar, Concordia professor detained in Iran
Hoodfar’s family claims that Iranian officials have violated several laws during Hoodfar’s imprisonment, including preventing her lawyer from having access to her or her case file.
“Given the alarming news of Homa’s hospitalization and declining health,we are left with no choice but to publicize these travesties of justice widely, as it has become clear that the authorities are not prioritizing her health and do not intend to respect Homa’s due process rights under Iranian law,” said Amanda Ghahremani, Hoodfar’s niece and legal representative in Canada.
Hoodfar’s family added they fear prolonged time in solitary confinement could “bring her to a point to make a false confession.”
The Canadian government has previously said it is working to assist in Hoodfar’s case; however, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion has acknowledged that not having an embassy complicated matters. Italy has protected Canada’s interests in Iran since 2012.
“It would be easier to have an embassy in Iran, but it’s not the case,” Dion said in June. “We will do everything we can [by] working with the like-minded countries that are in Iran.”
– With files from Nick Logan and The Associated Press
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