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Posted: 22-07-2021 01:36 | Views: 1140

International community must save Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali before it’s too late!

Scholars at Risk issued a joint statement with 13 human rights, academic, and scientific organizations calling on the European Union, European state governments, and the United States government to act immediately to secure the release of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali. Dr. Djalali is an internationally recognized scholar of disaster medicine wrongfully sentenced to death and in dire need of medical care. After a particularly horrific year for Dr. Djalali’s family, their fear for his life has surged given his rapidly deteriorating health and the recent election of Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line judge who sentenced thousands of political dissidents to death, as the country’s next president.

For years, Dr. Djalali has been denied access to appropriate medical care for numerous health complications that worsened while he was in solitary confinement. Dr. Djalali’s family fears that if authorities continue to deny him access to medical care, he will die in prison. Dr. Djalali also continues to be denied access to his lawyer and his family in Iran, and from making calls to his wife and children in Sweden. Without visitations and phone access, Dr. Djalali’s family can only await state media reports to learn more about his situation.

The international community must act now to secure Dr. Djalali’s immediate release and his subsequent access to medical care.

You can help Dr. Djalali by signing this letter and asking your government officials to help secure his release.

Take Action » 

Take more action through SAR's Scholars-in-Prison ProjectStudent Advocacy Seminars, and Legal Clinics.

SAR urges UN member states to call on Venezuela to protect academic freedom, student expression

In a report submitted to the Third Cycle of the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Scholars at Risk calls on UN member states to urge Venezuela’s government to protect academic freedom and take meaningful action to ease the tremendous economic, social, and political pressures the higher education sector has faced for more than a decade. The UPR process serves as an opportunity to review the human rights records of UN member states and address any violations that occur, including those involving the internationally protected right to academic freedom. 

Prepared in collaboration with the Ghent University Human Rights Centre Legal Clinic, SAR's UPR submission for Venezuela expresses concerns over systemic pressures, including severe encroachments on university autonomy, targeted denials of funding to disfavored institutions, and individual attacks, such as arbitrary detention, arrest, and violence, against scholars, students, and higher education institutions. These pressures have led to mass migration out of the country by students and scholars, harming Venezuela’s research output, and severely diminishing educational quality. SAR's recommendations to UN member states include calling on Venezuela to ensure public funding of universities, ensure university autonomy, and refrain from violence and arrests in retaliation to the nonviolent exercise of the right to academic freedom. 

Start an Academic Freedom Legal Clinic on your campus and contribute to future submissions in coordination with SAR. 

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Take more action through SAR's Scholars-in-Prison ProjectStudent Advocacy Seminars, and Legal Clinics.

Scholars at Risk joins human rights organizations in calling on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to quash Ahmed Samir Santawy’s verdict

Scholars at Risk joined 60 human rights organizations in calling on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to quash the verdict against postgraduate student Ahmed Samir Santawy. Mr. Santawy, an Egyptian citizen and a graduate student studying women’s rights at Central European University in Vienna, Austria, has been detained since February 1, 2021. On June 22, the State Security Emergency Misdemeanor Court sentenced Mr. Santawy to four years in prison for publishing “false news” -- a verdict that cannot be appealed. The conviction is reportedly based on social media posts critical of Egypt’s violations of human rights, which Mr. Santawy has denied writing. On June 23, Mr. Santawy began a hunger strike and his health has deteriorated since. 

Sign this letter to join us in calling for Mr. Santawy’s immediate release. 

Take Action » 

Take more action through SAR's Scholars-in-Prison ProjectStudent Advocacy Seminars, and Legal Clinics.

DEADLINE JULY 31: Call for nominations for Courage to Think Award 2021

Scholars at Risk is accepting nominations for the 2021 Courage to Think Award, which will be presented during an award ceremony at SAR’s annual Free to Think event in November 2021.

The Courage to Think Award recognizes individuals, groups, or institutions that have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom, whether through their professional work, private or community service, or by facing personal risk. Past recipients include Dr. Rahile Dawut, who, along with all scholars and students of Xinjiang, China, was recognized in absentia for her work in Uyghur studies; Turkey’s Academics for Peace, for their efforts in building academic solidarity and promoting academic freedom worldwide; and over 600 wrongfully imprisoned scholars and students in Egypt, who were honored in absentia for their struggle for academic freedom. 

Please submit your nominations by July 31, 2021.

Submit a nomination » 

Take more action through SAR's Scholars-in-Prison ProjectStudent Advocacy Seminars, and Legal Clinics.

Attacks on Higher Education

TURKEY: University administration blocks access to campus
Boğaziçi University, Turkey, 7/3
The administration of Boğaziçi University sealed off access to its campus in an apparent effort to restrict protest activities marking the six-month anniversary of a controversial rector appointment.
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INDIA: University fines protesting student
Ambedkar University Delhi, India, 6/30
The Ambedkar University Delhi proctor ordered a student to pay a fine for posting “distasteful” comments about Delhi government officials during an online graduation ceremony. 
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BELARUS: Police arrest student in retaliation for graduation speech
Belarusian State University, Belarus, 6/29
Police arrested Belarusian State University law student Ekaterina Vinnikova in apparent retaliation for a speech she gave at the law school’s graduation ceremony.
Read more »
BELARUS: Researcher detained at airport
School of Young Managers in Public Administration, Belarus, 6/28
Belarusian researcher Tatiana Kouzina was detained by authorities in the Minsk airport while traveling to Georgia.
Read more »
NIGERIA: Security forces clash with protesting students, killing one
Kaduna State College of Education, Nigeria, 6/28
State security forces clashed with Kaduna State College of Education students protesting against school tuition fee increases. Two students were reportedly struck by stray bullets from security forces and died from their injuries.
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SENEGAL: Police clash with student protesters
University of Sine-saloum El Hadj Ibrahima Niass, Senegal, 6/14
Police violently clashed with students from the University of Sine-saloum El Hadj Ibrahima Niass during a protest over the university’s infrastructure.
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NIGERIA: Gunmen raid university, kidnapping students and killing one
Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Nigeria, 6/10
Gunmen raided Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, kidnapping eight students and two university faculty, and killing one student.
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PAKISTAN: Police tear gas protesting university faculty
University of Peshawar, Pakistan, 6/1
Police fired tear gas and used batons against faculty and staff during a demonstration at the University of Peshawar.
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UNITED STATES: University denies tenure vote due to external pressure
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, United States, 5/19
It was reported that the University of North Carolina’s Board of Trustees had denied tenure to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones after she was appointed to be the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, a historically tenured position.
Read more »
UNITED STATES: University fires professor for public advocacy
Linfield University, United States, 4/27
Linfield University administration fired English professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner after he publicly advocated on behalf of students and faculty who complained about alleged sexual abuse by members of the university’s Board of Trustees. Pollack-Pelzner also accused university President and Chair of the Board of Trustees Miles K. Davis of making anti-Semitic remarks.
Read more »

Learn more about SAR's Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, which identifies and tracks attacks on higher education communities in order to protect vulnerable individuals, promote accountability, and prevent future attacks.

Academic Freedom in the News
TURKEY: Erdoğan removes Boğaziçi University rector after student protests
Ahval, 7/15
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan removed Melih Bulu, a loyalist of the ruling party, as the rector of Boğaziçi University. Erdoğan appointed Bulu by presidential decree in January 2021, triggering six months of student and faculty protest.
Read more »
CHINA: Noted Uyghur Folklore Professor Serving Prison Term in China’s Xinjiang
Shohret Hoshur Gulchehra Hoja, and Roseanne Gerin, Radio Free Asia, 7/13
Uyghur scholar Rahile Dawut, who disappeared in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in 2017, was recently confirmed to have been imprisoned by Chinese authorities by her former co-workers at Xinjiang University.
Read more »Take Action »
LATIN AMERICA: Is Latin American research on a path of decline?
Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education, 7/13
Higher education researchers and professors in Latin America cite lack of funding, brain drain, and high levels of bureaucracy as challenges currently facing higher education in the region. Federal funding for higher education has declined across the region in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more »

Sign up for SAR's Academic Freedom Media Review, a weekly digest of news, essays, and other media pertaining to academic freedom and higher education communities around the world.