British-Iranian academic who escaped Iran accused of sexually abusing colleagues

James Rothwell
·2 min read
Kameel Ahmady fled Iran across the mountains before arriving in Britain
Kameel Ahmady fled Iran across the mountains before arriving in Britain

A British-Iranian academic who recently escaped from Iran has been accused of being a sexual predator after several of his alleged victims came forward to warn that he should not be allowed to work with women.

Kameel Ahmady, who fled across Iran's mountains to Turkey before arriving in Britain, is known in Iran for his anthropological work on child marriage and female genital mutilation [FGM].

But after the news broke of his escape, which was first reported in the Guardian, four women approached the same newspaper and accused him of sexual abuse, which he denies.

"When I heard about his other [alleged] victims, and the fact that they were being largely, if not completely ignored, I could not bottle it up any longer,” one alleged victim said.

"Every single thing I know about [Ahmady] makes their testimonies credible. He is a predator and a serial abuser. I am so afraid that he will go on to have other opportunities to work with vulnerable women, and hurt them the way he hurt me," said another accuser.

Mr Ahmady has strongly denied the allegations, describing them in a statement as "baseless slander." He also suggested that they had been fabricated by people colluding with the Iranian regime.

"Since my escape from Iran, rival individuals and groups have been brought to bear upon me with the sole intention of destroying me, my research, as well as my professional and personal standing,” he wrote.

“The press is now being manipulated by them and those afraid of them, and those seeking to displace me as a scholar in my field.”

One of his accusers has claimed that Mr Ahmady began a sexually explicit conservation with her and that tried to give her lemonade laced with alcohol. He is also alleged to have summoned her to his room on the pretext for a work meeting, locked the door and assaulted her.

Another alleged victim claimed that Mr Ahmady went to the bathroom during what she believed was a work meeting and then reappeared naked.

The abuse allegations first emerged last year, which prompted Mr Ahmady to apologise in a message on social media which according to the Guardian has now been deleted. But after his interview with the Guardian, several alleged victims came forward again.

This prompted Mr Ahmady to post a message on social media in which he apologised for "mistakes" he had made in the workplace, though according to the Guardian the message has since been deleted. He also said he was "not a rapist or an abusive person."

Mr Ahmady was also investigated by the Iran Sociology Association, which suspended his membership as it said that "at the minimum, some abuse of power had occurred”.