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Iran arrests visiting Iranian-Canadian scholar: Rights group

Reuters , Thursday 9 Jun 2016
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Iran has arrested a visiting Canadian-Iranian expert in gender and Islam, campaigners said on Thursday, at least the fifth detention of a dual-national reported in recent months.

Homa Hoodfar, who teaches at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, was held on June 6, the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) said. Iranian authorities were not available to comment.

"Her home was searched by (Iran's elite) Revolutionary Guards agents who took away several personal items including her mobile phone, laptop, identification and academic research papers," the rights group said.

"Since then she had been interrogated several times."

It said the 65-year-old, who also holds an Irish passport, had suffered a stroke in the past and was feeling under psycholigical pressure.

Her family issued a separate statement urging the Canadian, Irish and Iranian governments to secure her freedom.

"We, the Homa Hoodfar family, are very worried about her well-being and hold Judiciary officials responsible for her health," the family added.

Several dual nationals, including people with French, British and U.S. passports, have been arrested in Iran over security-related issues, according to Iranian Judiciary officials. Iran refuses to recognise dual nationality.

British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 37-year-old project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the news agency's charitable arm, was arrested in early April in Tehran by members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, judicial sources said.

Another British-Iranian businessman, Kamal Foroughi, was arrested in May 2011, the sources said.

American-Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi was detained in October and his father Baquer, a former UNICEF official, was put behind bars in February. A French-Iranian former employee of the French embassy in Tehran Nazak Afshar was arrested when visiting her mother and sentenced to six years in April.

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