by Leander Milbrecht
British-Kurdish anthropologist Kameel Ahmady was sentenced to eight years in prison for “promoting homosexuality” and “subversive work” in Iran. The academic claims: He was not even given a fair trial.
Ahmady was born in Iran, studied in Britain and has British citizenship. The anthropologist made a name for himself through his investigations of social issues in the Middle East. He often tackled obscured taboos, including child marriage, female genital mutilation and the handling of the queer community.
He published Forbidden Tale, a book exploring the situation of gay and bisexual people in Iran. It is a comprehensive research report – and was not well received by the regime.
Accusation: Conspiracy with Europe and Israel
In 2019, Ahmady was in Tehran to work on two studies – one on homosexuality in Iran, another on identity and ethnicity – according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network. He was finally arrested in August, and his flat and car were searched. Ahmady was taken into custody.
It was not until October 2019 that his arrest was officially confirmed by the regime. Three months after his arrest, the academic was released on bail. Now Ahmady has been sentenced to eight years in prison by Iran’s Revolutionary Court. In addition, the academic also faces a fine of up to £500,000.
He is accused of collaborating with European embassies to “promote homosexuality”, communicating with “foreign and hostile media”, infiltration with the aim of changing the law in Iran, and sending false reports on human rights to the UN. Also: A visit to Israel as a reporter for the BBC.
Homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran. And according to Article 639 of the Islamic Penal Code, anyone who encourages or incites people to moral corruption or depravity faces a prison sentence of one to ten years. Travel to Israel is generally illegal in Iran and punishable by up to five years in prison.
Is support coming from Britain?
This week Kameel Ahmady’s lawyer announced the sentence. An update was also finally posted on Ahmady’s Facebook page. In it, Ahmady writes:
“Against all legal analysis and hopes for a fair sentence, I have been sentenced to eight years.”
The anthropologist makes serious accusations against the court. During the last year, he says, he has faced 100 days of detention and extrajudicial interrogation – all without access to a lawyer. The verdict was also handed down by Judge Salavati after two court hearings that were not conducted competently – in a trial that was full of legal errors.
Ahmady, however, is not giving up hope for justice:
“Now I will appeal against this verdict with all my remaining strength and hope for a fair trial on appeal.”
Is support coming? The BBC reported last week that the British government had taken an urgent interest in the case and asked the Iranian government for more information.
- kameelahmady: By: Video screenshot facebook / kameel ahmady
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