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 16, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Khost University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On July 16, 2022, the body of Khost University law professor Mumtaz Sherzai was found with marks of torture after he went missing the day before.

Before the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Sherzai was a prosecutor for the National Directorate of Security. In this capacity, he prosecuted cases involving national security-related crimes, including domestic and international terrorism. On July 15, 2022, Sherzai reportedly went missing from his home. The following day, his body was found near the Khost province airport, showing signs of torture.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the targeted abduction and killing of a scholar in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the right to freedom of expression and association, and offers condolences to their family, friends, colleagues, and students. Government authorities have a responsibility to refrain from engaging in extrajudicial killings and any other coercive actions that punish, restrict, or chill academic freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of association, or the exercise of related rights. In addition to harm to the immediate victim, the assassination and abduction of a scholar undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.