The attack on the Central European University marks a critical moment for the European Union. Silence implies weakness. It is time for Bologna to break with the convention of not making announcements between political meetings and seize the opportunity to defend academic freedom.
In Iran, a student activist has been lashed 74 times, just hours before his release from prison after serving a one-year sentence for insulting the president. A Russian historian specialising in the lives of ethnic Germans during the Soviet Union era has gone on trial behind closed doors on charges of illegally revealing personal data. In the UAE, a Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University lecturer has being detained since April on charges of insulting officials, and rights groups have urged the university to support him. A former Cyprus University rector has accused the Famagusta municipality of infringing his right to free expression by cancelling a lecture on the 11 July naval base blast. In India, a row has erupted following the University of Delhi's decision to exclude a controversial essay from its history syllabus, and in Malaysia students have protested against the suspension of a law lecturer for criticising the Sultan of Selangor.
In Syria, a nuclear physicist who was shot in the head has become the latest victim of a series of murders targeting scientists in the city of Homs. Iranian Omid Kokabee, the Texas University doctoral student detained in Tehran's Evin prison on espionage charges, went on trial last week. And in China, the authorities have cancelled the classes of a prominent Uyghur professor at the Beijing Minorities University, and 20 Uyghur professors have been dismissed from a teaching college in the northwestern region of Xianjiang for failing to be fluent in Mandarin.
In Chad two students detained for being in possession of pro-reform pamphlets are preparing to go on trial. In Iran prominent jailed student activist Majid Tavakoli has been permanently banned from studying at any university, and a doctoral student who campaigned for the opposition candidate in the 2009 elections was detained and subjected to 50 lashes. International Turkmen students have been prevented by their country's migration officials from returning to universities in neighbouring Tajikistan and are in danger of being expelled. And in Nigeria, students have accused the authorities of failing to guarantee their safety after extremist Islamic group Boko Haram threatened bomb attacks on universities.
Chinese constitutional scholar and activist Yao Lifa has been freed but is suffering from multiple injuries after spending almost a month in detention. In Iran, religious scholar Ahmad Ghabel is suffering declining health in Vakilabad prison, where he is serving a sentence for insulting the country's supreme leader. Ashkan Zahabian, a student activist jailed in northern Iran, has started a hunger strike to protest against the conditions of his detention and confusion around his case. The family of Abdolreza Soudbakhsh, a professor at Tehran University and medical doctor who was murdered by unidentified men in September 2010, have claimed that his killing was linked to his work with rape and torture victims.
In Iran former university chancellor Mohammad Maleki, charged with being an "enemy of God", has accused the court hearing his case of being illegal, and theological scholar Ahmad Ghabel has been re-incarcerated to serve a 20-month sentence. In Tajikistan, authorities have opened criminal cases against 22 students who have returned from abroad, apparently to discourage them from contacting extremist Islamist groups. US academics who wrote a book on China's Xinjiang region and were banned by the authorities from entering China, have expressed shock at lack of support from their universities. And in Burkina Faso, three police officers have been jailed for their involvement in the death of a student.
In Iran, jailed pro-democracy student activist Abdollah Momeni has been denied medical leave despite serious and worsening health problems. An Iranian postgraduate student at a US university, imprisoned for five months in Tehran for allegedly plotting conspiracy, has asked for a chance to defend himself in a fair trial. In Saudi Arabia prominent scholar Yusuf al-Ahmad has been arrested for criticising the authorities' lack of judicial process for security detainees. Malaysian students have rallied in 25 cities around the world to support free and fair elections in the country, and in Zimbabwe charges of treason against six activists have been downgraded to inciting public violence.
A Guinean student in The Gambia has been released after more than two months in prison or under house arrest, following accusations that he had been planning an uprising. In the UK an Oxford academic has been allowed, under freedom of information laws, to read formerly secret data on climate change. Ireland's Royal College of Surgeons has come under fire for urging staff and students at its medical school in Bahrain not to become involved in politics and for failing to take a stand against the repression of doctors. And in Malaysia, a South Korean student has been arrested after attending a pro-democracy protest.
An Iranian student activist and prisoner of conscience remains in solitary confinement after 37 days in prison with interrogation completed. Charges against a Colombian academic arrested two yeas ago, accused of links with left-wing guerrillas, have been dropped, and he has been released. A student pilot in Iran has been jailed for a year over Facebook activities, including interviews with international media and publicising political activity. A constitutional law scholar in China has gone missing, believed detained in relation to high numbers of independent candidates running in local elections.
A new rule has made it more difficult for asylum seekers in Britain to enter university, by classifying them as overseas rather than home students. In Egypt, security guards have violently dispersed students protesting outside the Ministry of Higher Education in Cairo, and in Bahrain 20-year-old poet and student Ayat al-Qarmezi is facing prison for reading a poem critical of the regime during a pro-democracy demonstration. Six Italian seismologists and a government official are facing trial over deaths linked to the earthquake that destroyed L'Aquila in April 2009.
Several hundred ethnic Uzbek students from Kyrgyzstan, who are studying in Rzhev in Russia, have been harassed by the authorities. Colleagues of Iranian student Omid Kokabee, who is studying for a PhD in physics at the University of Texas, are concerned that he might have been jailed while visiting Iran during the Christmas break. In Syria, a student and other detainees have been tortured and beaten by security forces in the coastal town of Banias. UK freedom of information laws have allegedly been misused to harass and intimidate climate scientists. And in Swaziland student leader Maxwell Dlamini has been held by the authorities since 11 April and a campaign has been launched to support his case.
Iraqi academics have again been the target of violent attacks by insurgents, in a new wave of assassinations. According to the Brussels Tribunal on Iraq, at least 453 academics have been killed since 2003. In Iran, students have protested against a growing security force presence at Tehran University, and at Bahria University in Pakistan students have marched against the sacking of a lecturer who criticised university policies. A student has been jailed for three months in Sudan for participating in anti-government demonstrations, and in the US gay and lesbian students at Christian universities have been agitating for official acceptance.
The Chinese authorities have arrested three Tibetan monks, including a student, in Beijing following a self-immolation protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, and have banned an inter-college debate on the 1911 revolution. In Iran, a human rights lawyer and law professor at Allameh Tabatabaee University in Tehran has been dismissed, and two student activists have been expelled from Baku State University in Azerbaijan. Student anti-government protests have been held in Damascus and at Aleppo University in Syria.
Members of a student group in South Korea have been arrested and accused of violating national security by openly supporting North Korea. There has been a furore in the US over a request by the Republican Party for copies of emails of history professor William Cronon, after he wrote articles critical of the party in Wisconsin. Peking University has announced its intention to screen students, including those with 'radical thoughts' and 'eccentric lifestyles', and in Iran nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri has been arrested and charged with treason. In Sudan's Darfur region, police have killed one protesting student and wounded several others.
After weeks of violence in Burkina Faso, in which at least six students died, the government has shut down all universities until further notice. The Yemini army has injured 98 students while attempting to halt protests on campuses. In Sudan, 100 students and youths have been arrested since January and many have reported severe mistreatment and torture. An Iranian history lecturer has been dismissed after publishing critical articles, and the Iranian Ministry of Education has announced new restrictions on students abroad. In Malawi, lecturers striking against interference in academic freedom have defied a presidential order to go back to work.
Senior Chinese researcher Jin Xide has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for allegedly leaking information to foreign intelligence agencies about the health of North Korea's leader. In Turkmenistan, the government has slapped restrictions on university students, giving no explanation. Malaysian academic Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid and two other men have been acquitted of possessing prohibited religious books, and in Saudi Arabia 119 academics and activists have called for far-reaching reforms. In Belarus a lecturer and a student remain in jail for participating in mass protests following December's disputed presidential election.
A student leader has been abducted by authorities in the province of Balochistan in south-west Pakistan. In Belarus an associate professor has been fired after attending a mass protest over December's disputed presidential election, and in Turkey a sociologist has been tried and acquitted of charges for which she had already been twice acquitted. In South Africa, the Council on Higher Education has suppressed a university audit following complaints by the vice-chancellor that it was "biased", and in Malawi lecturers went on strike after a colleague was interrogated by a local police chief over an example he gave in a political science class.
In Britain, police have asked universities to pass them intelligence on planned protests, as students continue their vociferous campaign against education cuts and fee hikes. In Tunisia, universities remained closed last week but are expected to open tomorrow. The University of Tartu has sent the Croatian parliament a letter urging that the final version of a bill impacting on its autonomy be changed. President Barack Obama has announced that educational exchanges between Cuba and the US will be eased, while in China police and campus security at Peking University have issued a ban on copying sensitive materials. Egypt's Minister of Higher Education Hani Hilal has confirmed that the government will comply with court rulings to end a police presence on campuses.
Election of a new rector at Donetsk National University in Ukraine led to allegations of government interference and violence from university staff, according to reports received from the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. During the election on 10 December, university staff were allegedly told they could vote for their preferred candidate, but that the "last word was with the Ministry".
Defense lawyers of 25 detained opposition and human rights activists, including the professor and blogger Dr Abeljalil Al-Singace, staged a walk-out of their clients' trial in Bahrain following the court's repeated refusal to allow an investigation into the alleged torture of the detainees, Reporters Without Borders revealed on 9 December.
Students from three universities in the Philippines demonstrated on 18 November against a show cause order brought against 37 members of faculty at the University of the Philippines faculty of law, ABS-CBN News reported.
Ali Gholizadeh, an activist and member of the Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat student organisation, has been arrested and detained in Mashad, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported on 5 November.
Writers, filmmakers and social commentators have expressed fear for freedom of speech after the withdrawal of an award-winning book from a university syllabus following pressure from hard-line Hindu activists, AFP reported on 20 October.
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have required foundations and other auxiliary groups tied to California's main universities, California State University and the University of California, to open their list of donors to the public, Inside Higher Education reported on 1 October.
Historian Ruslan Zabiliy has been arrested by the Ukrainian security service, the SBU, allegedly on the basis of his research into the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and Ukraine's independence movement in the 1940s and 1950s, the Kyiv Post reported on 17 September.