Dear SAR Friends, Scholars at Risk circulates alerts to raise awareness about attacks on scholars, students and university communities worldwide. Scholars at Risk requests that letters, emails, or faxes of support be sent in especially urgent cases. Below are recent alerts issued by our partners: (1) Iran - History professor, Dr Hashem Aghajari, Faces Death Penalty Again (2) Saudi Arabia - One Academic Released Others Still Incommunicado (3) Russia - Scientist Sentenced to 15 Years for Spying For more information, visit our website at http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/letter_campaigns.html Sincerely, Carla Stuart Program Officer Scholars at Risk ================================================================================ Iran - History professor, Dr Hashem Aghajari, Faces Death Penalty Again Alert Date: 04 May 2004 Source: NY Times / BBC News A regional court in Iran has reimposed the death penalty on a prominent dissident, Dr Hashem Aghajari the 4 May 2004. Mr. Aghajari, a history professor at a Tehran college, made a speech in August 2002, which was a seen as an attack on the country's Islamic establishment and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Khamenei. He was sentenced to death in November 2002 for apostasy, after he spoke out against Iran's mullahs and called for a "religious renewal". The sentence sparked the largest student protest for years, and it was later overturned by the Supreme Court in February 2003. Now the court in Hamedan province has upheld its original verdict and sent the case back to the higher court. Mr. Aghajari is currently being held in Evin prison in Tehran, where he is serving a four-year sentence imposed in place of the death penalty by the Supreme Court. He has also been appealing against that sentence. For further information please visit NEAR's website at: http://www.nearinternational.org/ ======================================================================== Saudi Arabia - Academics Held Incommunicado for Criticizing National Commission on Human Rights Action Alert Date: 01 May 2004 Source: Amnesty International and NEAR Amnesty International and NEAR report that Dr Tawfiq al-Qussayyir reportedly has been released from prison after he signed pledges that he would liaise with the authorities before carrying out any public activity. However, Dr al-Falih and Dr al-Hamid, are still reportedly held without charge or trial, with other prisoners, at the al-Mabahith al-'Amma prison in 'Ulaysha, in the capital, Riyadh, where they may be at risk of torture and ill-treatment. They are reportedly held in solitary confinement with no access to the outside world. They were reported to have refused to sign a pledge vowing not carry out any "political activity" or liaise with the authorities before issuing any statements. The families of at least three of the men still in custody are reported to have written a letter to Crown Prince Abdullah bin 'Abdul 'Aziz urging him to release them. The detainees were reportedly first arrested because they were planning to issue a statement criticizing the National Association for Human Rights (NAHR), which was established by the government in March this year, and calling for a constitutional monarch. They were also reported to have planned to set up their own human rights organization. The government has not disclosed any acts committed by the detainees which could be considered recognizably criminal offences. (See March 17 SAR Alert). Amnesty International recommends that appeals be sent as quickly as possible, in Arabic or your own language: - calling on the authorities to release the remaining detainees immediately and unconditionally if they are held solely for their criticism of the NAHR or for planning to issue a statement setting out their concerns; -asking the authorities to ensure that all the detainees are protected from torture and ill-treatment, and given regular access to their families, lawyers of their own choosing and any medical attention they may need; -calling for anyone charged with a recognizably criminal offence to be given a prompt and fair trial. Please send appeals to Minister of the Interior His Royal Highness Prince Naif bin 'Abdul 'Aziz, Minister of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior P.O. Box 2933, Airport Road, Riyadh 11134, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Telegram: Minister of Interior, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Fax: 00 966 1 403 1185 (it may be difficult to get through, please keep trying) Telex: 404416 [Salutation: Your Royal Highness] Minister of Foreign Affairs His Royal Highness Prince Saud al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nasseriya Street, Riyadh 11124, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Telegram: Foreign Affairs Minister, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Fax: 00 966 1 403 0159 (it may be difficult to get through, please keep trying) Telex: 405000 [Salutation: Your Royal Highness] Minister of Justice His Excellency Dr. Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice University Street, Riyadh 11137, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Telegram: Minister of Justice, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Fax: 00 966 1 401 1741 Telex: 405 980 MINJUS SJ [Salutation: Your Excellency] King and Prime Minister, Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines His Majesty King Fahd bin 'Abdul 'Aziz Al-Saud, Office of H.M. The King, Royal Court, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Telegram: King Fahd, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [Salutation: Your Majesty] Copies sent to: HRH Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Embassy of Saudi Arabia, 30 Charles Street, Mayfair, London W1J 5DZ Natalie Nicora, NEAR, email@example.com, Fax: 0044 20 7021 0881 Carla Stuart, SAR, firstname.lastname@example.org For further information please visit NEAR's website at: http://www.nearinternational.org/ ======================================================================== Russia - "Scientist Sentenced to 15 Years for Spying" Action Alert / Update Date: 08 Apr. 2004 Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science Human Rights Action Network On 7 April 2004, Dr. Igor Sutyagin received a 15 year sentence. Dr. Sutyagin, a Russian researcher, was first arrested in October 1999 on espionage charges related to research he conducted for a British consulting firm. The Russian government maintains that the firm, Alternative Futures, was a cover for the CIA. Dr. Sutyagin admits conducting the research, but as a civilian researcher with no security clearance, he only used open sources, such as newspaper clippings, he says. There are several concerns that Dr. Sutyagin did not receive a fair trial. The concerns largely center on the instructions the jurors were given when making their deliberations. They were asked to consider four questions. The first two questions were whether Sutyagin had been recruited by a foreign defense intelligence service and whether he had been paid for the information he provided to that service. The third question was whether Sutyagin should be found guilty based on the answers to the first two questions and the fourth question was whether he deserved leniency. The content of the juror instructions did not ask whether the data prepared in Sutyagin's research were based on state secrets and did not ask if Sutyagin was aware that the firm had intelligence ties. There are reports in the Russian media that as many as three of the jurors may be former FSB employees. Russian scientists believe that the case against Sutyagin is intended to send a message that the government will crackdown on researchers who have contacts with foreigners. Several other cases have been initiated against scientists who engage in commercial research for foreign firms. The AAAS Human Rights Action Network recommends that appeals and inquiry messages be sent - Expressing concern about the reported irregularities in the trial of Dr. Igor Sutyagin; - Reminding the government that prosecuting an individual solely for the peaceful exercise of his or her right to freedom of expression is in direct violation of several human rights standards that the Russian Federation is obligated under international law to uphold, and that freedom of expression is central to the scientific mission; - Expressing your hope that the Russian courts will continue to support the rule of law and international human rights standards, fairly consider the merits of the case, drop the case if insufficient evidence exists to support the charges, and immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Sutyagin. Please send appeals to: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin President of Russia The Kremlin Moscow Russia Fax: (011) 7 095 206 5173 or 7 095 206 6277 email@example.com Salutation: Your Excellency: Copies sent to: Yuri V. Ushakov Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States 2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20007 Fax: (202) 298-5737 Salutation: Dear Mr. Ambassador Carla Stuart, SAR, firstname.lastname@example.org Victoria Baxter, AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, 1200 New York Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20005; tel. 202-326-6797; email email@example.com; or fax 202-289-4950. For further information please visit: http://shr.aaas.org/aaashran/alert.php?a_id=272 ======================================================================== The keys to effective appeals are to be courteous and respectful, accurate and precise, impartial in approach, and as specific as possible regarding the alleged violation and the international human rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation. Reference to your scientific organization and professional affiliation is always helpful. To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of the posting unless an update has been issued. ========== Psychology and Human Rights listserv ========== Send mail intended for the list to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. 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