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 09, 2024

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Azad University of Qorveh

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Around January 9, 2024, Iranian authorities arrested Pr. Shahin Ghafouri, a professor at Azad University of Qorveh, for comments that he made on social media criticizing the commemoration of the death of General Qassem Soleimani, and deadly violence that occurred at the event, in early January 2024.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary imprisonment of a professor for exercising his 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.