MONTREAL — Relatives of a Montreal-based university professor being held in an Iranian jail fear for her life as her condition has deteriorated to the point she can hardly walk or talk.
Homa Hoodfar, 65, was initially arrested last March, shortly before she was to return home, but was released on bail. She was rearrested June 6 and is being held at Tehran's notorious Evin prison.
The family said Tuesday that Hoodfar had to be transported to hospital about a month ago because of her rapidly declining health.
"We are very concerned about her situation because of her hospitalization," her niece, Amanda Ghahremani, told The Canadian Press.
"We don't have any additional details about why she was hospitalized. We don't have much detail about her current condition, so we're very scared for her health, we're scared for her psychological and her physical well-being."
Iran's semi-official ISNA and Tasnim news agencies said last month Hoodfar had been indicted on unknown charges.
The family has said the Iranian probe into Hoodfar centred on her dabbling in feminism and security matters.
Ghahremani said obtaining information about her aunt's legal case has been difficult.
"She has had very limited access to her lawyer apart from one meeting in July," she said. "We know she has been charged with propaganda against the state and with collaboration with hostile governments against Iran but we have not been given any details as to why these are the charges against her."
Hoodfar, a retired professor at Montreal's Concordia University, was born in Iran but has been living in Montreal for 30 years. She is an anthropologist who has conducted research on Muslim women in various regions of the world.
Global Affairs Canada said Tuesday that Hoodfar's case remains a "priority" for the government.
"Minister Dion and parliamentary secretary Omar Alghabra, indeed the government, are very concerned about the health, well-being and detention of Dr. Hoodfar," said a department statement.
"We are working with our allies to secure her release and return to her family."
In a statement released earlier in the day, Hoodfar's family said she was "very disoriented, severely weakened, and could hardly walk or talk" when hospitalized.
Hoodfar suffers from a serious neurological condition and the family said requests for a check-up by an independent specialist doctor have been ignored.
"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," the family added.
Melanie Marquis, The Canadian Press
©2016 The Canadian Press
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