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: November 04, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):Azad University of Tehran

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 4, 2022, state security forces arrested Shahriyar Shams, allegedly for his participation in the ongoing women’s rights protests in Iran.

Security forces arrested Shams at his home, allegedly without a valid arrest warrant, before transferring him to Evin Prison. They charged him with “gathering and colluding to act against national security” and “disturbing the public order” because of his participation in the protests. Shams reportedly announced that he could go on a hunger strike.

At the time of his arrest, Shams was awaiting trial for similar charges after an arrest that had occurred on September 29, 2022 (see report).

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary arrest of a student in apparent retaliation for the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly – conduct which 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 signatory. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, such actions undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.