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: July 04, 2018

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):University of Tehran

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On July 4, 2018, an Iranian court convicted and sentenced Rouhullah Mardani, a former student and a teacher at the University of Tehran, to six years’ imprisonment, allegedly in relation to his nonviolent participation in protests.

Mr. Mardani was convicted on charges of “spreading propaganda against the establishment” and “gathering and colluding against national security” for his participation in widespread protests that occurred in Iran in December 2017 and January 2018. In addition to his six-year sentence, Mr. Mardani has been prohibited from leaving Iran for two years and participating in any political activities.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about arbitrary imprisonment and prosecution of scholars and students. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from arbitrary arrests and prosecutions of scholars for peacefully exercising their internationally recognized right to freedom of assembly. Prosecutions aimed at limiting such activity undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.