17 November 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Academic Freedom
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
CHINA: Academic imprisoned for criticising government
A former professor at Nanjing Normal University and leader of a campaign for competitive multiparty democracy has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by Chinese authorities for alleged 'subversion of state power', the Financial Times has reported. Guo Quan was sentenced on 16 October in Suqian, a city in the eastern province of Jiangsu, four months after the case was filed with the court in June.
PERU: Human rights academic receives death threats
Dr Salomon Lerner Febres, a leading academic and President of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights at the Catholic University of Peru, has reported receiving death threats, according to Human Rights Watch.
IRAN: Students protest on first day of new term
Students at Tehran University have staged protests against the government of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as the university opened its doors for the new academic year. BBC News reports that the demonstrations occurred after the students were denied entry to an opening ceremony attended by a government minister.
GLOBAL: Academic Freedom: A realistic appraisal
Everyone seems to favour academic freedom. Indeed, if university leaders or ministers of education were asked, they would claim that this privilege is universally practiced. Yet problems concerning academic freedom exist almost everywhere - created by changing academic realities, political pressures, growing commercialisation and marketisation of higher education, or legal pressures. Academic freedom needs to be carefully defined so that it can be defended in the global climate of complexity. A new, and probably more delimited, understanding of academic freedom is needed in the age of the internet and the global knowledge economy.
CROATIA: Conference boycott urged over 'plagiarist' chair
A group of academics is calling on participants to boycott a forthcoming conference in Croatia after it emerged that the chair has a proven history of scientific misconduct, the Times Higher Education has reported.
US: Neve Gordon's academic freedom
The dynamic of debate in the Israeli academy has suddenly changed, and part of the debate is now being conducted in American venues.
VENEZUELA: Students and staff injured on campus
Four people have been injured on the campus of Universidad de Los Andes (ULA) in western Venezuela during an attack by a group of 30 suspected government supporters.
HONDURAS: Police and students clash
Riot police responded harshly on 5 August to growing student rallies outside the National Autonomous University in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. Tear gas and water cannons were used to disperse some 3,000 students rallying in support of the country's ousted president, Manuel Zelaya.
IRAN: Iranian-American academic detained in Tehran
On 9 July 2009 Dr Kian Tajbakhsh, a prominent Iranian-American social scientist, was arrested at his home by Tehran authorities. The agents did not provide any legal justification for the arrest and took him to an undisclosed location.
MEXICO: Student kicked unconscious by police
Amnesty International has condemned police in Chiapas State in southern Mexico after a 16-year-old student activist was beaten unconscious last month. Jose Emiliano Nandayapa Gomez was reportedly attacked because of his 'subversive haircut' although he has been involved in promoting the rights of young people.
IRAN: Arrest of academics condemned
The UK's University and College Union has condemned the Iranian government after 70 university professors were arrested as part of the state's crackdown on opposition protestors. The academics were held on 25 June after meeting the pro-reformist candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi.