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: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment

Institution(s):Tehran University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 9, 2024, Iranian authorities arrested Mohammed Shebahati, an anthropology student at Tehran University, for comments that he made on social media criticizing the commemoration of the death of General Qassem Soleimani in early January 2024. Shebahati was also reported to have been beaten.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary imprisonment and beating of a student for exercising their 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, the use of force, 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.