SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

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Date of Incident: August 28, 2020

Region & Country:Europe | Belarus

Institution(s):Belarusian State University

On August 28, 2020, police reportedly arrested Belarusian State University (BSU) professor Svetlana Volchek and her husband in apparent retaliation for their alleged participation in nationwide protests over the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. The official results of the August 9 ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Date of Incident: August 14, 2020

Region & Country:Southeastern Asia | Thailand

Institution(s):Thammasat University

On August 14, 2020, police arrested Thammasat University student activist Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak in apparent retaliation for his participation in and co-organization of nationwide youth-led protests. Most notable among these protests was a July 18 “Free Youth” Rally, which took place ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Date of Incident: August 12, 2020

Region & Country:Europe | Belarus

Institution(s):George Washington University

On August 12, 2020, Belarussian authorities detained George Washington University (GW) PhD candidate Stas Gorelik amid nationwide protests over widely condemned national election results. The official results of the August 9 election had President Alexander Lukashenko, who first took office in ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment | Prosecution

Date of Incident: July 28, 2020

Region & Country:Eastern Asia | Hong Kong 

Institution(s):University of Hong Kong

On July 28, 2020, the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) Council ordered the dismissal of Associate Professor of Law Benny Tai, in connection with his peaceful pro-democracy activism. Tai has come under fire for his active role in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy ...

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Date of Incident: July 27, 2020

Region & Country:Eastern Asia | Hong Kong 

Institution(s):Hong Kong Baptist University

On July 27, 2020, Hong Kong Baptist University informed lecturer Shiu Ka-chun that his teaching contract would not be renewed, apparently in retaliation for his peaceful activism. Shiu was convicted on April 9, 2019, for his role in the 2014 pro-democracy ...

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Date of Incident: July 13, 2020

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Uganda

Institution(s):Makerere University

On July 13, 2020, police arrested prominent scholar-activist, Stella Nyanzi, and two Makerere University students during a protest over the apparent killing of a university student. Nyanzi and the two students, whose names were not disclosed, reportedly marched to Parliament in ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Date of Incident: July 09, 2020

Region & Country:Europe | Serbia

Institution(s):University of Belgrade

On July 9, 2020, authorities arrested law student Nemanja Vuckovic for allegedly calling on fellow students to participate in protests. Starting on July 7, citizens held protests in front of the National Assembly building in Belgrade over the announcement of a ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Date of Incident: July 09, 2020

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

Institution(s):Birzeit University

On July 9, 2020, Israeli Defense Forces reportedly detained Ruba Assi, a student at Birzeit University, during an overnight raid on her home in Ramallah. Few details are available regarding Assi’s detention. Authorities report Israeli authorities conducted a number of raids ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Date of Incident: July 06, 2020

Region & Country:Western Asia | Iraq

Institution(s):Unaffiliated

On July 6, 2020, unidentified gunmen assassinated Dr. Hisham al-Hashemi, a prominent historian, journalist, and security analyst. A group of three gunmen riding on motorcycles reportedly fired multiple times at Hashemi outside his home in Baghdad. Hashemi (also written as “Hashimi”) ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Date of Incident: July 06, 2020

Region & Country:Eastern Asia | China

Institution(s):Tsinghua University

On July 6, 2020, Chinese authorities reportedly detained Xu Zhangrun, a legal scholar at Tsinghua University, in apparent connection with his public criticism of the government. As many as twenty police officers detained Xu at his home in Changping, on the ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment