MEXICO: Academic censored and threatened

Florencio Posadas Segura, a professor at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa in Mexico, has been censured after speaking on the university radio station, Radio UAS. On 13 and 15 May, he commented on the topic of new university regulations, including the issue of succession of the rector, saying that they had not passed democratic and academic tests. Segura was then severely reprimanded by the university authorities.

Programme host Victor Hugo Aguilar Gaxiola subsequently told him that, on orders from the rector, he would no longer be allowed to speak on the station. Gaxiola is also believed to have told the professor, "Be careful what you say because a car could run you over."

Segura, fearing for his safety, filed a complaint with the state human rights commission. He has had a long career as a professor and investigator in the UAS Social and Economic Investigations Unit, holds a doctorate in social sciences from the Metropolitan Autonomous University and is a member of several academic committees. He has been a commentator on Radio UAS for 10 years.

UK: Lecturers may boycott immigration rules

British university lecturers are considering a boycott of government rules they believe would require them to spy on foreign students, the Guardian reports. Ministers introduced a new points-based immigration system for non-EU staff and students in April as part of its drive to combat terrorism.

Students will be required to carry identity cards, while universities must check the integrity and legitimacy of students and monitor and report any unexplained absences to the Home Office. Lecturers from the University and College Union argued that the system could significantly damage the reputation of UK higher education.

A motion put by a UCU regional branch claimed the new arrangements meant members of staff were in effect carrying out policing and surveillance work. Many overseas students come to the UK each year to study, generating about £8.5 billion (US$5.7 billion) for the UK economy.

The lecturers claim the new regulations will put off overseas students, damaging the international status of educational institutions.

IRAN: Detained students tortured and beaten

Six students from Amir Kabir University, who were released on bail following a wave of student detentions on 5 February and 24 February, were apparently harshly interrogated, beaten and tortured in an effort to force them to confess to illegal activities.

They were coerced into admitting having relations with the US, Israel, and the Mojahedin opposition group, according to The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Abbas Hakimzadeh remains in prison and is believed to have been tortured and beaten and is in poor physical and psychological health, The Campaign has said. He remains in solitary confinement in ward 209 of Evin prison where he continues to be interrogated.

Mehdi Mashayekhi is also still in detention and is suffering from psychological problems as a result of being ill-treated.

EGYPT: Russian students detained

Several dozen Russian students were detained in Egypt in a document check days before US President Barack Obama's visit to Cairo, Russian officials said. United Press International reported Foreign Ministry spokesman Igor Lyakin-Frolov saying that Cairo police had rounded up the students at Al-Azkhar University during checks on international students studying in the country.

A senior Muslim cleric said the students failed to properly document their stay in Egypt. It was not immediately clear if the detentions were related to Obama's visit to the country where he delivered a speech at Cairo University last Thursday.

UK: Lecturers vote to boycott Israeli universities

Lecturers attending the University and College Union annual congress on 27 May voted overwhelmingly to boycott Israeli universities and colleges. Delegates said Israeli academics were complicit in their government's acts against Palestinians. According to the Guardian, as soon as the vote was carried, the leadership of the UCU declared it void.

Lawyers had advised the union to rule the vote null and void if passed, to avoid legal action against the union. It is the ninth time the deeply contentious issue of Israel and Palestine has surfaced. This year feelings ran particularly deep as the vote came after a wave of student protests at 35 universities across the UK.

* Jonathan Travis is programme officer for the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR).