One month ago I have written about anthropologist Kareem Ahmady, who has researched child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexuality in Iran, before: Iran jails anthropologist for "subversive research", "seeking cultural changes" and "promoting homosexuality". Today following headline appeared on his blog: Eventually I made the decision which I had been struggling with for a long time – the decision to escape.
Eventually, in a bitterly cold, dark night, I embarked on a journey. Every hour of that unforgettable night, with every path that opened before me through the tough route, I wondered whether there are any roads more impassable than prejudice, ignorance, tyranny and isolation from the rest of the world.
Kurds are known to have no friends but mountains; on the night of my departure, with no lantern to light my path but the white snow, I realized again that the mountains were giving me a shelter and aiding me to start a new beginning with even stronger determination. (...)
What I have been through for the past one and a half years, is the story of a sad tragedy whose sequence, although real, is unbelievable. The Revolutionary Guard security system intended to introduce me as one of the main tools of the “infiltration scenario”. (...) They had come to the conclusion that I had been trained as a teenager for the purpose of infiltration and overthrowing the system.
Ahmady who is a British-Iranian dual national is now safe in the UK. In Iran he was sentenced to nine years prison. In the verdict that he put online (in English!), we read on the first page:
Kameel Ahmady has been acting as a senior expert in sociology and anthropology, directing the propagation of western principles and weakening Sharia/lawful rules and fundamentals in the field of family and marriage, and promoting the necessity to adopt western and humanist values. He was under observation by the Intelligence Organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
And on page 10:
Generally, it can be said that increasing the age of marriage for children is one of the strategies of the enemy for weakening and ruining the family system; andthat Mr Kameel Ahmady is one of the leaders in the implementation of this strategy in Iran.
Ahmady communicated with anti-revolution and problematic institutes and foundations and travelled to occupied Palestinian territories. A teaser, pepper spray, alcohol to the value of alcohol were discovered by Iranian customs (3150000 Rials), as well asother available evidences and documentation. His crime is proved.
"I just simply left. I packed my bag with a shaving kit, a few books of mine, and a laptop. And warm clothes, because I knew I had to smuggle myself out of that train in the mountains. It was very cold, very long, very dark and very scary.
In an interview with The Guardian he nevertheless expressed slight optimism and said he would like to have a role in helping create a dialogue.:
“The Islamic regime is run by a small minority, the so-called hardliners, but that generation of leaders are dying out.
“Most people, those not making a living from high politics, corruption, are not reformers or fundamentalists but people who want to see change. There is a hint of hope after the years of hardship and sanctions that have brought people to their knees and crippled the economy.
“If negotiations restart, it’s very important that Iranian civil society and opposition groups are heard on issues like human rights. Nothing good ever came out of conflict and fanaticism, and I say that from personal experience.”
The Guardian writes: British-Iranian anthropologist who fled Iran accused of sexual abuse:
Four women have separately claimed to the Guardian that he assaulted them, and others have made allegations of repeated sexual harassment. (...)
Ahmady said in a statement that the accusations were “baseless slander” organised by professional rivals and the Iranian state in an attempt to smear him and undermine his work. He also said two accusers had been in consensual relationships with him.
SEE EARLIER ON ANTROPOLOGI.INFO with more information about Kameel Ahmady's research: