British-Iranian academic says he fled Iran while on bail

A British-Iranian academic said on Wednesday that he fled Iran across a mountain border after being sentenced to nine years in jail for collaborating with a hostile government.

Kameel Ahmady, a social anthropologist studying female genital mutilation and child marriage in Iran, told the BBC and The Guardian newspaper that he escaped while on bail after being sentenced, as he feared he would not see his young son again. “I just simply left. I packed my bag with shaving kit, a few books of mine and a laptop and I think pyjamas… and warm clothes,” he said.

After being detained for suspected links with foreign intelligence services, he spent three months in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where he said he was subjected to “so-called white torture, a psychological pressure they put on you”.

He was then released on bail and later sentenced in December last year and fined €600,000 for receiving “illegitimate funds” and working on projects with “subversive institutions”, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported.

British media reported that he escaped while on bail pending his appeal. He described the journey as “very cold, very long, very dark and very scary”.

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