British-Iranian academic Kameel Ahmady has been sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in Tehran for “collaborating with a hostile government”, BBC reported on Monday. Ahmady is known for his research about child marriage, female genital mutilation and sexuality in Iran.
A report by Reuters, citing news agency Tasnim, however, said that Ahmady was given a nine-year jail-term. It added that Ahmady received funds from institutions trying to overthrow the Iranian regime.
The researcher was also ordered to pay $7,30,000 (Rs 5.37 crore approximately) as fine. “Ahmady was accused of acquiring illicit property from his cooperation in implementing subversive institutions’ projects in the country,” Tasnim said, according to Reuters.
The report from Tasnim added that Ahmady was allegedly in touch with the embassies of European countries and foreign media to “promote homosexuality” in Iran, according to BBC.
Ahmady, meanwhile, said that the judgement against him came after a flawed legal process. “The legal focus of the accusation goes back to my research on the most harmful traditions about children in disadvantaged minority areas of Iran, but the main intention of my accusers has been to link my research to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and to stop my activities with the target community of my research,” he said. Ahmady’s lawyer Amir Raesian said that he planned to appeal against his sentencing.
The researcher was arrested in August last year but was released on bail. He did not have access to a lawyer for 100 days.