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.

Date of Incident: April 09, 2014

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Basrah

Region & Country:Western Asia | Iraq

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 9, 2014, Professor Dr. Khalid Al Muraj, a renowned ophthalmologist who had recently retired from the College of Medicine at the University of Basrah, was murdered by unidentified assailants.  The men reportedly entered Dr. Al Muraj’s home in Basrah City, and beheaded him.  As of this report, no additional information was known about the assailants or their motives.  

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparently targeted killing of a professor. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression in the region. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.