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: January 07, 2024

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 7, 2024, it was reported that Iranian authorities had arrested Sorena Alipour, a student at Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, for comments that she made on social media criticizing the commemoration of the death of General Qassem Soleimani in early January 2024.

Alipour’s arrest was initially reported by the Saberin news channel, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a branch of Iran’s armed forces. Alipour allegedly referred to Soleimani in derogatory terms and stated that there was no need to sympathize with those who mourn the late general.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary imprisonment of a student for exercising her freedom of expression – 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 the Islamic Republic of Iran is a party. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from arbitrary arrests and prosecution of scholars and students for exercising their right to freedom of expression. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.