Bild: Academic Freedom Bochum4SAR

Support. Dear fellow students, we, the group “Bochum4SAR”, call upon you for support in the fight for academic freedom:

„Bochum4SAR” is an international group of RUB-students who joined the campaign for the immediate release of the wrongfully imprisoned scientists Niloufar Bayani and Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali. Both, the conservation biologist and the disaster medic, were convicted for alleged espionage and collaboration with “enemy states” in Iran. They experienced violence in prison and are denied access to appropriate health care, legal protection and family support. Djalali’s death sentence could be carried out at any time. 

Distressingly, Bayani’s and Djalali’s fates exemplify a global development: For years academic freedom has increasingly come under threat, especially in authoritarian states. The academic network Scholars at Risk (SAR) recorded 184 cases of detention, kidnapping, torture or murder in 2018-19 alone. United by SAR, 530 institutions from 42 countries stay committed to fighting these developments. For the first time in summer semester 2021 one of SAR’s Student Advocacy Seminars was also held at RUB in cooperation with the International Office. During the seminar the “Bochum4SAR”-members became more aware of this form of human rights violation and its significance for us as academics:
Freedom of expression is an inalienable human right. 
Academic freedom must be protected accordingly.
Institutional independence is necessary.
The crucial challenges of the 21st century can only be mastered with help of the global academic community: Our tasks and responsibilities include the protection of freedom and life itself.

What you can do to support us and defend academic freedom: 

1.Send a solidarity letter to authorities/institutions etc. (SAR provides templates for Bayani and Djalali.)

2.Follow our social media accounts, support our hashtags and share our posts (either on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter).

3.Support our events:

Scholars in Prison – Advocacy Evening for the Freedom of Niloufar Bayani and All Wrongfully Imprisoned Scholars on September 24 from 5-7 pm in Goldkante Bar, Bochum: We are looking forward to talks with the political advocate of Bayani Tabea Rößner (Grüne), the SAR-US representative Adam Braver and activists from Amnesty Bochum. There will be musical acts and readings of poetry written by prisoners.
In case you missed the event, we have saved our Facebook-Livestream for you. 

Planting of an Iranian Ironwood Tree in the Botanical Garden of the RUB in October (exact date to come): Inspired by Bayani’s field research and as a lasting sign of solidarity with At Risk Scholars and love for nature.

4.Contribute to the next SAR seminar.




     :Marlen Farina

Grant Academics Diplomatic Immunity                           

Truth hurts. How come? Truth seems to be a universal principle underlying phenomenon of our world and can only be received by reason, yet it is very hard to process what we observe without responding emotionally. How is it possible for scientific findings to challenge people’s need of security and stability? How is it possible that academics who are committed to the truth and especially to an impartial description thereof are frequently, since the beginning of science till now, at risk? Why is academic freedom so fragile? 

Today, right-wing populism is becoming more popular all over the world again. Take Poland’s government, the AfD in Germany, Trump in the USA – what is the essence of these movements? The predominant emotions which make them appealing are angst, disgust and envy. They are naturally opposed to science and its complex explanations of the world and its structural problems. They keep things simple and pick out a scapegoat. Also, playing off the fear in people is a very effective tool to make them believe they need an authority to tell them what to, providing a false sense of security. Fear is the first emotion that humans experience after birth and it remains one of the strongest. But freedom is the absence of fear. And science flourishes only in freedom. It empowers every one of us. Only with science can we shape our future with responsibility.  For it provides the framework to work together sensibly and to cope with the ever more complex problems of the day.  It is a tragedy that 80 percent of humans live in countries that restrict science, as the Academic Freedom Index of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) shows. We cannot build a better future without these people and our joint work: Guarantee diplomatic immunity to scientists all over the world! Protecting posterity is our all right and duty.


                                                             :Denni Dapic-Telenta




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