A British-Iranian researcher has been hit with a lengthy jail sentence in Iran for “collaborating with a hostile government”.
Kameel Ahmady, an anthropologist who has published several books on Iran, was yesterday sentenced in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran after being arrested in the country last August.
His lawyer, Amir Raesian, said his client had been sentenced to eight years in prison, adding: “We will appeal this ruling and we still hope.” The Iranian IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency claimed that Ahmady had been sentenced to nine years.”
Ahmady is Kurdish and was born in Naghadeh, West Azerbaijan. He has been a British citizen since the 1990s and studied at the University of Kent. He has published multiple papers on social issues in Iran such as child labor, female genital mutilation and child marriage.
In a statement released through friends in the UK, Ahmady said he had been targeted because of his work. “In autumn 2019,” he wrote, contrary to all legal strictures and hope of fair judgment, I was subjected to 100 days of detention and extrajudicial interrogation without access to a lawyer. The judgment now handed down was issued after two non-expert court hearings in a legal process full of flaws.
“The legal focus of the accusation goes back to my research on the most harmful traditions about children in disadvantaged minority areas of Iran, but the main intention of my accusers has been to link my research to the United Nations 2030 sustainable development goals, and to stop my activities with the target community of my research. My aim now is to appeal this verdict and hope for a fair trial in the appeal court.”
Ahmady was also fined 600,000 euros: the sum Iranian authorities claimed he had received for his “subversive” research from foreign institutions. Ahmady has said his research was carried out independently and published with the approval of the government.