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 01, 2022

Attack Types: Prosecution

Institution(s):Technical University of Crete

Region & Country:Europe | Greece

New or Ongoing:New Incident

In June 2022, the Minister of Education, Niki Kerameos, requested a preliminary investigation into eight student leaders from the Technical University of Crete, in apparent retaliation for their participation in protest activities.

The students are members of the board of directors of student unions; three are student union presidents. Kerameos accused the students, on apparently dubious bases, including “kidnapping” and “disturbance of domestic peace.” If formally charged, the students could face up to ten years in prison.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparently arbitrary criminal investigation of students in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Greece is a party. While state authorities have a right to maintain order and safety on campuses, they should ensure that their responses are not disproportionate and are not intended to restrict or retaliate against nonviolent expressive activity. Such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.