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.
A student at Irbid's University in Jordan has been accused of lèse majesté and "causing national strife" over a poem he denies writing that criticised the King, Human Rights Watch reported on 3 September 2010. Hatim Al-Shuli was arrested at his university on 25 July, after flyers of the poem under his name were distributed around campus.
There is a special kind of British humour that is very good at locating the absurd in everyday life. It draws our attention to much of what we take for granted just by tone of voice or the raising of an eyebrow. Either of these can be enough to effectively place scare quotes around a cliché; or draw our critical attention to something, and make us laugh at the sudden absurdity of what once seemed authoritative.
Two members of the Central Council of Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat, a representative body of Islamic student associations in Iran, have been detained by Iranian security forces, Advar News reported on 22 August.
More than 70 Iranian graduates have launched a campaign calling for the release of their friend and colleague, student photographer Hamed Saber, Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty reported last month. Saber was arrested on 21 June and there had been no communication regarding his whereabouts.
Dr Igor Sutyagin (pictured), a Russian nuclear scientist and former head of division at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, was released from prison on 9 July.
Emadeddin Baghi, Iranian scholar, journalist and human rights activist, was released on bail on 23 June. According to reports from Amnesty International he was released from Tehran's Evin prison on bail of US$200,000 after 180 days in prison.