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Kameel Ahmady, British-Iranian Anthropologist, Detained In Iran – News Updates

October 6, 2019

This photograph is of my friend and colleague, the British-Iranian anthropologist Kameel Ahmady, in happier times when he kindly came to support my book launch, and attended the FGM conference in Geneva in 2016.
But as of mid-August this year (2019) Kameel has been detained in Iran on unspecified potential criminal charges concerning ‘national security’. I need hardly say that we all, his colleagues and friends, hope very much that he will soon be released and that this very worrying episode will shortly be positively resolved. Kameel needs as soon as possible to be reunited with his wife, Shafagh Rahmani, and their little son; and we as scholars need him to continue his outstanding work reporting on female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and ‘white marriage’ in the Middle-East, his own region of the world.

Please share this news about Kameel’s situation as widely as possible (via Facebook, Twitter, other social media and email etc – sharing buttons at the end of this post).

And if you are an academic or researcher or similar who would like to support our Statement of concern about Kameel Ahmady, please do so here.

In the meantime, I will use this post to update news of Kameel’s situation as we learn of it; and if you the reader also have information, perhaps you can also report it as ‘Comment’, below?  Thank you.

News reports on the detention in Iran of British-Iranian anthropologist Kameel Ahmady
(newest report first):

21 October 2019
(Ariel Zilber, Daily Mail)
Iran gives US list of prisoners it wants freed in a proposed swap, including scientist arrested last year for sending biological material to Islamic Republic 
Detailed account of Iranian detentions of several dual nationals including Kameel Ahmady and other Britons.

18 October 2019
(Alice König, The Scotsman)
World needs to shout about scholars silenced by the state

16 October 2019
(Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty)
Paris Condemns ‘Unacceptable’ Arrest Of Two French Citizens In Iran


7 October 2019
(Hansard, vol 664, col 1563)
Urgent Question: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (refers also to ‘other’ un-named British-Iranians)
Tulip Siddiq MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, following the release of one Australian-British national who was also imprisoned at Evin prison.


4 October 2019
Iran slams French ‘interference’ over detained academic
(The Fresno Bee)
Iran rejects French calls for researcher’s release
Iran rejects French calls for researcher’s release
(Chris Baynes, Independent)
‘CIA spy’ sentenced to death in Iran as second suspect accused of helping British intelligence agencies jailed for 10 years.
Tehran’s judiciary also confirms arrest of British-Iranian academic Kameel Ahmady

(Daisy Busel, Talk Radio)
Iran confirms detention of British-Iranian academic
(Saudi Gazette)
Iran confirms arrest of another academic
(Middle East Online)
Iran confirms arrest of academic, sentences ‘spy’ to death.
Iranian-British anthropologist Kameel Ahmady is just the latest dual national detained amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over its nuclear program.


30 September 2019
(Louise Pyne-Jones, International Observatory of Human Rights)
Families of dual-national detainees launch campaign to free them at UNGA


19 September 2019
(European Parliament)
P9_TA-PROV(2019)0019: Iran, notably the situation of women’s rights defenders and imprisoned EU dual nationals
European Parliament resolution of 19 September 2019 on Iran, notably the situation of women’s rights defenders and imprisoned EU dual nationals (2019/2823(RSP))


17 September 2019
(Center for Human Rights in Iran)
Detained Iranian-British Anthropologist Says Charges Based on Government-Approved Research


13 September 2019
(Radio Farda)
Iran Extends Detention Of British-Iranian Researcher


30 August 2019
(Center for Human Rights in Iran)
No Family Visits or Lawyer Allowed for Detained Iranian-British Anthropologist Kameel Ahmady Two Weeks Into Detention.
Wife ‘s Requests for Charges and Medical Examination Go Unanswered
(Kurdistan Human Rights Network)
Iran Jails British Anthropologist in ‘Solitary Confinement’
(Niloufar Rostami, Iran Wire)
The British-Iranian Hostages Iran Labels as Terrorists


29 August 2019
(Scholars at Risk)
#Iran: Kameel Ahmady, an Iranian-British anthropologist, was detained on Aug 11.
His family has not been allowed to visit him in prison, and authorities have refused to answer questions about his health and the grounds for his detention
(Arnold, Global Woman Peace Foundation)
GWPF’s 2018 Award Recipient Arrested & Detained In Iran


28 August 2019
(John Chua, Independent)
My British friend was imprisoned in Iran after the UK government seized their oil tanker.
Now they won’t let him go.  The UK’s kowtowing to Trump’s aggressive rhetoric on Iran led to the capture of my friend, FGM researcher Kameel Ahmady. The government must now act to secure his release.
(EndFGM Network)
Support to Kameel Ahmady


27 August 2019
(Middle East Studies Association: Committee on Academic Freedom)
Arrest and detention of Dr. Kameel Ahmady


21 August 2019
(Statement on Kameel Ahmady – open to colleagues / scholars who wish to show support)
Statement On The Detention In Iran Of Social Anthropologist Kameel Ahmady


19 August 2019
(Tara Kavaler, Jerusalem Post)
Arrests like that of Briton Kameel Ahmady are also being used to leverage the release of Iranians accused of violating US sanctions
(Sina Toosie, National American Iranian Council)
Dual British-Iranian Academic Arrested


16 August 2019
(Ebby Abramson, Endangered Scholars Worldwide)
Kameel Ahmady —British-Iranian Anthropologist Arrested in Iran


15 August 2019
British dual national Kameel Ahmady detained in Iran. Anthropologist Kameel Ahmady being held in Tehran’s Evin prison on unknown charges, says family
(Zamaneh Media)
Iran Detains another Dual-National British Citizen: this Time a Researcher Working on Minorities.
Kameel Ahmady a British-Iranian researcher and academic working on minorities was arrested at his home in Tehran on Sunday.
(The New Arab)
British-Iranian FGM, child marriage researcher arrested in Iran on unknown charges
(Scott Lucas, EAWorldView)
Iran Daily: Gibraltar Defies US, Releases Iranian Supertanker.
Another Anglo-Iranian dual national has been detained in Tehran.
(Jamie Prentis, NWorld)
British-Iranian academic detained in Tehran.
Anthropologist Kameel Ahmady conducts research on sensitive Iranian issues (!4 August, updated 15 August)
British-Iranian academic Kameel Ahmady is arrested in Tehran on mystery charges and his documents are removed from his house (nd..)
(Kurdistan au Feminin)
L’Iran a arrêté l’anthropologue kurde Kameel Ahmady


14 August 2019
(Olivia Alabaster, Independent)
Iran has detained yet another dual-national British citizen. What is it hoping to achieve?
Tehran appears increasingly frustrated, and while Iran officially does not recognise dual-nationals, authorities there appear perfectly happy to use them as bartering chips
(Independent, Richard Hall)
British-Iranian academic arrested in Iran amid tanker row: Prosecutors have not given any reason for his arrest
Kameel Ahmady: British-Iranian academic ‘arrested in Iran’
(Arab News)
Iran arrests British-Iranian academic Kameel Ahmady.
A one-month temporary detention order has been issued against Ahmady [who] has researched female genital mutilation and child marriage in Iran.
(Danyal Hussain, Mail Online)
British-Iranian academic Kameel Ahmady is arrested in Tehran on mystery charges and his documents are removed from his house.
Kameel Ahmady, a celebrated anthropologist, was detained in Tehran on Sunday. Wife Shafagh Rahmani said that the authorities hadn’t charged him by Tuesday . Mr Ahmady is an Iranian Kurd who was granted British citizenship back in 1994. In 2015, he published a groundbreaking study highlighting FGM in the country
(Wladimir von Wilgenburg, Kurdistan 24)
Iran arrests British-Kurdish academic in Tehran
(Josie Ensor, Telegraph)
British-Iranian academic arrested by Tehran amid rising tensions
(Arab Weekly)
Iranian-British anthropologist held in Tehran amid tensions.
Kameel Ahmady has studied female genital mutilation, child marriages and other topics related to Iran.
British-Iranian academic arrested in Iran amid tanker tensions
(Niloufar Nostami, IranWire)
IranWire Speaks to Wife of Jailed Iranian-British Anthropologist
(John Gambrell, Washington Times)
Iranian-British anthropologist held in Tehran amid tensions
(Bagdad Post)
Iran arrests yet another British dual national


11 August 2019
(Scholars at Risk)
On August 11, 2019, Iranian authorities detained anthropologist Kameel Ahmady on “national security” grounds.
(La Repubblica)
Iran, arrestato antropologo anglo-iraniano. Ignote le accuse. Nel 2015 denunciò mutilazioni genitali femminili


Regular updates – check date when you read
(Center for Human Rights in Iran)
Who Are the Dual and Foreign Nationals Imprisoned in Iran?


3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2019 02:48

    Good work, Hilary. Let’s hope the British government will negotiate successfully and many more supporters will sign on.

  2. Godfrey Williams-Okorodus permalink
    October 6, 2019 04:24

    I designed the book cover for Kameel’s book on FGM in Iran and it’s so disheartening that he is being incarcerated for speaking out against injustice and barbarism

    • October 6, 2019 11:27

      Thanks Godfrey, would you like to add your name to the Statement?

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