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.

After filing a complaint, the whole family were instructed to visit police headquarters. When they arrived, police officers forced Jose's father into a small room, punched his grandfather and shoved his pregnant mother.

On 30 June, Nandayapa and his father were interviewed on local radio about what had happened. After their interview, they were chased by two municipal police officers and had to seek refuge in a local hospital. When they went to report the incident to the Public Prosecutor's office, the official there initially refused to register the incident.

Nandayapa has been involved in a local movement in San Cristobal de las Casas promoting the rights of young people, highlighting police impunity and criticising government policies. Amnesty International is urging the authorities to carry out a full impartial investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment and for those responsible to be held to account.

RUSSIA: British academics protest

A group of British academics have spoken out after authorities in Russia closed down a website dealing with the country's controversial Soviet past. According to The Guardian, the website had been Russia's largest online history resource, widely used by scholars in Russia and elsewhere as a unique source of biographical and historical material.

Officials said they closed the site because it published extracts from Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf. The founder of the website, Vyacheslav Rumyantsev, reportedly said the closure had nothing to do with Hitler, adding that the text was widely available elsewhere. He said the authorities might have pulled the plug after an article was posted on 16 June criticising St Petersburg's pro-Kremlin Governor, Valentina Matviyenko.

The closure comes amid official attempts in Russia to rewrite some of the darkest aspects of its 20th-century history, The Guardian said. School textbooks now portray Stalin not as a mass murderer but as a great, if flawed, national leader who defeated the Nazis and industrialised the Soviet Union.

IRAN: France demands Tehran release student

The French authorities have demanded the immediate release of a 23-year-old student from Lille who has been jailed in Iran on spying charges after she took photographs at a demonstration last month. President Sarkozy dismissed the charges against Clotilde Reiss, a politics student and an assistant teacher at Isfahan University, who was detained at Tehran airport last week on her way home to France.

The Times said that Reiss, a graduate student at the eminent Lille Political Sciences Institute, had been arrested as she was leaving for home via Beirut after a five-month stint at the university. On 6 July, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian Ambassador to Paris to demand her release. It is believed the French authorities are seeking an EU-wide response to Iran after the arrest of the academic and the detention of staff at the British Embassy in Tehran.

CHINA: Uyghur academic detained

The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of Uyghur academic and writer, Iham Tohti, who was reportedly arrested in Beijing on 6 July. Tohti had spoken out on the ethnic unrest which broke out in Urumqi the day before.

According to PEN, Tohti, a leading Uyghur academic and activist, published an online report in which he criticised Nur Bekri, Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional People's Government.

PEN has requested details of any charges against Iham Tohti and called for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Tohti, a member of International PEN, is an associate professor in economics at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing. He has been previously detained on three occasions for his peaceful support of Uyghur rights.

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