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: December 05, 2020

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Aden

Region & Country:Western Asia | Yemen

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On December 5, 2020, unidentified assailants shot and killed Khalid al-Hameidi, dean of the University of Aden’s College of Education in Al-Dhali.

Al-Hameidi, described in reports as a secular thinker and a known critic of Islamic extremists, was traveling to the college when at least two assailants opened fire on him.

No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting. The Associated Press reported that authorities believed Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula or an Islamic State affiliate as likely being behind the attack.

Since conflict broke out in Yemen in late 2014, a growing number of scholars, public intellectuals, and university students have suffered from violent attacks, arrests, kidnappings, and the effects of armed conflict on campus.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about the assassination of a scholar and offers condolences to the victim’s family, friends, and colleagues. In addition to the terrible loss of life, such attacks target the core values of higher education, including academic freedom, the free exchange of ideas, and social responsibility. State authorities have a responsibility to safeguard these values by taking all reasonable steps to ensure the security of higher education communities and their members, including a responsibility to deter future attacks by investigating incidents and making every effort to hold perpetrators accountable, consistent with internationally recognized standards. Members of society similarly have a responsibility to help safeguard the higher education space, especially following incidents of such gross violence, by pressing demands to state authorities for greater protection and accountability, and by contributing to efforts to understand and reinforce principles of autonomy and academic freedom.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).