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: March 02, 2024

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):Payam Noor University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 2, 2024, Khobat Veysi, a 26-year-old English Language student at Payam Noor University in Marivan, began serving a 15-month prison sentence for his participation in the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests.

Iranian forces originally detained Veysi on September 20, 2022, and again on November 7, 2022. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “membership in the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan,” a Kurdish opposition party and tried by the Marivan Revolutionary Court before being sentenced.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary imprisonment and prosecution of a student in apparent retaliation for the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly — 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. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.