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: September 25, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution | Loss of Position

Institution(s):University of Tehran

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 25, 2022, the University of Tehran (UT) reportedly expelled UT graduate student Mohammad Javaheri from the student dormitory, barred him from entering campus, and reported Javaheri to state security forces, apparently for his participation in protests over the death of a young woman who was in the custody of so-called “morality police.” Security forces arrested Javaheri shortly thereafter.

Starting on September 17, protests spread across Iran, including at various universities, following the death-in-custody of Jina Amini (also known as Mahsa Amini) after so-called “morality police” detained her for allegedly not wearing a hijab according to state regulations. Police and security forces have responded to the protests with violence and arrests.

In addition to expelling and barring him from entering campus, UT security officials reportedly informed state security forces of Javaheri. While Javaheri was at a Tehran bus station with the intent of returning home, security forces arrested him. On October 17, Javaheri was released on bail.

On November 29, it was reported that the 26th branch of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Javaheri to 4 years and 7 months in prison, 74 lashes, a 2-year ban on being a member of civil and political groups, and a 2-year travel ban on charges of “assembly and collusion with the intention of disrupting the security of the country” and “disturbance of public order.”

Scholars at Risk is concerned about university officials effectively expelling a student for their alleged participation in protests and reports that university security actors reported the student to state security forces for the same activity – conduct that is protected by international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. University authorities have an obligation to refrain from disciplinary actions intended to deter or punish nonviolent expressive activity. Likewise, state authorities have an obligation to refrain from taking action to restrict or retaliate against student protests. In addition to harm to the immediate victim, arbitrary disciplinary actions, arrests, and prosecutions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.