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: January 05, 2018

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):University of Tehran

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:Ongoing Incident

On January 5, 2018, Iranian authorities reportedly arrested Pedram Pazireh, a University of Tehran student of anthropology and Vice Chairman of the Student Union, in apparent retaliation for his participation in a nationwide protest movement.

From late December 2017 to January 2018, protests over economic conditions and other issues broke out across Iran, including notable demonstrations on university campuses. Authorities arrested Pazireh on January 5 in connection with his alleged participation in the protests. On July 29, 2018, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran convicted and sentenced Pazireh to seven years imprisonment and 74 lashes on charges of “collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state.” As of this report, there is no public information regarding a potential appeal of his conviction and sentencing.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about imprisonment and prosecution of a student in apparent retaliation against the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly—conduct which is protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. State authorities must refrain from restricting or otherwise interfering in the nonviolent exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.