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 19, 2018

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Sana'a University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Yemen

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 19, 2018, Houthi militia members reportedly detained at least five Sana’a University professors who were en route to Aden to collect their salaries.

The detention of the Sana’a University professors comes against the backdrop of Yemen’s ongoing conflict between state forces and Houthi rebels, among others. A growing number of faculty at universities in Houthi controlled territories, including Sana’a University, have reportedly been denied salaries and replaced with educators loyal to the Houthis. Academic personnel who have been denied pay at these universities have been forced to travel to Aden to collect their salaries.

Sources indicate that Houthi checkpoint officials stopped a bus transporting the Sana’a University professors, interrogated them, and took them into custody. A female doctor and her daughter, who were traveling with the professors, were released. As of this report, the professors’ whereabouts are unknown and no information regarding a possible release has been disclosed.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the arbitrary detention and possible disappearance of scholars. State authorities have an obligation to investigate the situation and to hold perpetrators accountable. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.


Yemen’s War Reaches Into Public-University Classrooms