December 20, 2020
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian)
Dear President Rouhani:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our grave concern for Kameel Ahmady, holds dual British-Iranian citizenship and is trained and employed as a social anthropologist. There are conflicting reports regarding his sentence (both regarding the time of his sentence as well as the charge.) One report indicates he was sentenced for eight and another reports nine years. The charges also are unclear with some reporting the charges as “collaborating with a hostile government” while a second reports his charge is for “accumulating wealth from foreign powers that allegedly seek to overthrow your government”. He has reportedly also been accused of seeking “cultural changes” in relationships between women and children, and “promoting homosexuality.”
He has stated that he believes his study of traditions in Iran that are harmful to children have made him a target for prosecution, and that your government wishes to prevent him from conducting research on vulnerable and minority communities.
Kameel Ahmady has published books on female genital mutilation (FGM), temporary marriage, and child garbage collectors.
It appears that Kameel Ahmady has been prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced for nothing more than the peaceful pursuit of his academic work. Unless there is evidence of a legitimate criminal offense, we urge you to see to it that Kameel Ahmady is released immediately and unconditionally and that his academic freedom is respected. His scholarship on marginalized communities can be of great value in enhancing your government’s understanding of the Iranian people, and should be welcomed and encouraged.
Thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
H.E. Gholamali Khoshroo
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 687-2020
Fax: (212) 867-7086