Iran: Niloufar Bayani released from prison

Posted April 8, 2024

Scholars at Risk celebrates the release of wrongfully imprisoned conservationist Niloufar Bayani and the news that she has been reunited with her loved ones. 

Ms. Bayani was arrested in January 2018 on charges of espionage while conducting field research on asiatic cheetahs, and she was sentenced to 10 years in prison in January 2019. 

Ms. Bayani was held in Evin Prison, where she found ways to continue her academic work. In June 2023, SAR published Ms. Bayani’s “Climate Literacy in the Land of Oil,” a manuscript written between April 2022 and March 2023. In the piece, Ms. Bayani surveys fellow prisoners on climate issues and explores potential reforms.

As SAR reported in Free to Think 2023, wrongful imprisonment of scholars is not a new phenomenon in Iran: Iranian, dual nationality, and some foreign scholars and students have faced wrongful detention for their scholarship and expression over the years. SAR calls on Iranian authorities to release wrongfully imprisoned scholars and students, and to refrain from detaining members of the international higher education community in retaliation for their academic work and expression. 

SAR is relieved Ms. Bayani is now free from prison, and once again able to contribute to science, academia, and her field. SAR is grateful to the many civil society partners, SAR sections, SAR member institutions, and Student Advocacy Seminars who have worked in support of Niloufar Bayani over the past six years.