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: June 11, 2018

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):University of Tehran

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 11, 2018, Iran’s Revolutionary Court convicted and sentenced University of Tehran student activists Sina Darvish Omran and Ali Mozaffari to prison on charges related to “national security” and “propaganda against the state,” in connection with their participation in protest activities. The students were further issued a two-year ban on “traveling abroad, engaging in political activities and posting on the internet.”

Omran, a German language translation graduate student, and Mozaffari, an anthropology major, were arrested on December 30 and 31, 2017, respectively, during the widespread street protests that were taking place in Iran at the time. After being taken into custody, they were reportedly held in solitary confinement and forced to make confessions out of the presence of counsel. The court ultimately sentenced the two students to a total of five years each in prison.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention and prosecution of students in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the right to free expression and association. State authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with the rights to freedom of expression and association, so long as they are exercised peacefully and responsibly. Prosecution aimed at limiting such activity undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.