22 June 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Academic Freedom
INDIA
INDIA: University book ban sparks free speech fears
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.
UNITED STATES
US: California vetoes university transparency bill
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.
UKRAINE
UKRAINE: Arrest of historian for research activities
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.
JORDAN
JORDAN: Student jailed for writing poem
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.
UNITED KINGDOM
UK: Challenging ruling mantras of higher education
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.
IRAN
IRAN: Detention of student union leaders
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.
IRAN
Iran: Campaign to free jailed student photographer
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.
Russia: Nuclear scientist released in "spy swap"
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.
IRAN
IRAN: Prominent scholar released on bail
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.
CHINA
CHINA: Publisher scraps Tiananmen Square memoir
Hong Kong publishers have been forced to abandon plans to publish an account of the decision-making behind the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy student protesters, The Guardian reported on 20 June.
IRAN
IRAN: Two UK students in detention in Iran
Doctoral students Mohammad Reza Jalaeipour and Ehsan Abdoh Tabrizi are both being held in detention in Iran, Radio Free Europe and The Guardian reported on 24 and 25 June.
ANGOLA
ANGOLA: Professor on trial in Cabinda
A professor is among three prominent rights advocates facing politically motivated criminal charges by the Angolan government following an attack on 8 January in Cabinda on Togolese footballers participating in the African Cup of Nations, Human Rights Watch reported on 23 June.
TURKEY
TURKEY: Education trade unionists on trial
Public sector trade unionists are facing heavy prison terms in Turkey, including 27 teachers and members of the teachers' trade union Egitim Sen, and the Confederation of Public Employees' Trade Unions, KESK.
RWANDA
RWANDA: American academic released
Human rights lawyer and academic Professor Peter Erlinder was released by a Rwandan court on health grounds after being held by the authorities for almost three weeks, the BBC reported on 18 June.
ISRAEL
ISRAEL: Academic denied entry to West Bank
Israeli immigration officials prevented US scholar Noam Chomsky from entering the West Bank last week. Professor Chomsky, renowned for his work on linguistics and philosophy, was planning to deliver a lecture at Birzeit University, BBC News reports. Chomsky said he was denied entry because the Israeli government has long objected to his controversial writings and speeches.
RUSSIA
RUSSIA: Court rejects appeal by imprisoned scientist
A court in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk has rejected an appeal for the release of academic Igor Sutyagin, who is serving a 15-year sentence for espionage. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that Sutyagin, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Canada Institute, was sentenced in 2004 for allegedly passing classified information about Russia's nuclear weapons to a London-based firm.
UNITED STATES
US: Haiti trip provokes academic freedom argument
An unauthorised trip by two students to Haiti in the wake of the recent earthquake has sparked an academic freedom row in the US, Times Higher Education reports. Jon Bougher and Roman Safiullin, students in the Documentary Institute at the College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, returned to Haiti after a university ban to complete their thesis documentary about aid workers. They paid for the trip themselves and worked without any input from the university.
CHINA: Academic banned from travelling
A prominent Chinese academic who was to speak at an academic conference in the United States has been barred from leaving China. Professor Cui Weiping, a poet and professor at the Beijing Film Academy, had planned to lecture at Harvard University and attend a conference sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies. But the director of her school said she had been forbidden to travel.
LEBANON
LEBANON: Attacked for working with Israelis
A professor at the American University of Beirut has been criticised for writing a book in collaboration with two academics from Tel Aviv University, the Los Angeles Times reports. Lebanese law prohibits its nationals from having any contact with Israelis.
SUDAN
SUDAN: Police surround funeral of beaten student
Reuters reports that the funeral of a Darfuri student who was allegedly beaten to death by Sudanese authorities, became the scene of a tense confrontation when armed police surrounded the house where the student's body waited to go to the cemetery.
VENEZUELA
VENEZUELA: Police break up anti-Chavez protest
On Thursday 4 February, police used tear gas, plastic bullets and water cannons to disperse hundreds of university protesters. Students started marching after the government pressured cable and satellite TV providers to drop an opposition channel. Demonstrations have appeared in cities across the country, accusing President Chavez of forcing Radio Caracas Television International off the airwaves to silence his critics.
IRAN
IRAN: Student activist sentenced
Majid Tavakoli, an Iranian pro-reform student activist, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for giving a speech at Tehran's Amir Kabir University where he branded President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a 'fascist' and the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, a 'dictator'.
CHINA
CHINA: Dissident academic jailed
Chinese intellectual and dissident Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment on 25 December for his part in drafting and signing the 'Charter 08' document, which calls for significant reforms to the Chinese political system.
IRAN
IRAN: French academic in court
A report by France 24 said that Clotilde Reiss, a 24-year-old French academic, appeared before an Iranian Revolutionary Court for a second time on 17 November to face charges of "collecting information and provoking rioters" in the turbulent aftermath of the presidential elections in June.
TURKMENISTAN
TURKMENISTAN: Activist forced to leave the country
Human Rights Watch reported that a biologist and environmental activist who had been imprisoned by authorities in Turkmenistan for "causing bodily harm" has been released, apparently on the proviso that he leave the country.