NEAR Newsletter May 2008
Welcome to the NEAR Newsletter. In this edition you will find our most recent Action Alerts and also an ‘Academic Freedom in the Media’ section, listing news by country (May 2008). Any comments and suggestions about the content and layout of the newsletter will be gratefully received at email@example.com.
NEAR Action Alerts *Taken from the NEAR website
Scholars at Risk (SAR) and the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR) held the first in a series of workshops on academic freedom in Amman, Jordan on March 31st, 2008. The workshop took place on the second day of a three day event organized in partnership with the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS) and hosted by the United Nations University (UNU) in Amman under the patronage of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Jordan.
Muhammad Ali Abu Raziza, a psychology lecturer at the University of Um al-Qura in Mecca, has been sentenced to 150 lashes and eight months in prison for meeting a woman in a coffee shop. The academic was convicted of the Islamic law offence of ‘khilwa’ - being found in the company of a member of the opposite sex who is not an immediate relative.
NEAR has received disturbing reports of continuing mistreatment of educators, students and unionists across the country, following the drawn out election process and build-up to the Presidential run-off. Education International (EI) has announced that The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) witnessed many teachers in rural areas being tortured and killed.
Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, the Afghan journalism student sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Islam, has rejected the charges and told an appeals court in Kabul that he was tortured into a confession. According to Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL), his hearing has been adjourned until 25 May to allow the 24-year-old to consult with a lawyer and prepare a defence.
An outspoken critic of the Saudi government has been apprehended by secret police, Human Rights Watch have said. On 19 May Dr. al-Faleh, was arrested on the premises of King Saud University in Riyadh, where he teaches political science. His arrest comes just days after he publicly criticized conditions in a prison where two Saudi human rights activists are serving jail terms.
In a recent incident at the University of Nottingham, a graduate student at the School of Politics and International Relations and an administrative member of staff at the Department of Engineering were arrested by armed police under the Terrorism Act of 2000. Politics student Rizwaan Sabir, aged 22, was arrested after downloading an edited version of the al-Qaeda handbook from a US government website and sending it to an administrative member of staff.
** Please continue to send us any relevant cases involving threats to academic freedom and education rights, for potential alerts.
The Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR) is a membership-based, non-governmental organisation which facilitates international collaboration between organisations active in issues of academic freedom and educational rights, and committed to promoting an understanding of, and respect for, the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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