Petition to Release and Free Academics Students Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh and Esha Momeni and Prof. Mehdi Zakeriam

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To: The Governments of Afghanistan and Iran and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights*

We, the undersigned academics from all disciplines from around the world do hereby call upon and demand that the governments of Afghanistan release student Sayed Perwiz Kambasksh and for Iran to release student, Esha Momeni, and Prof. Mehdi Zakeriam

Furthermore,we call upon the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to look into these and other apparent human rights abuses and harassments perpetuated against students and faculty in these countries.

According to reports, [1] [2] Mr. Kambakhsh, a journalism student, was sentenced originally to death for downloading an article off the internet on women’s rights in Islam and discussing it in class. The sentence has been commuted to 20 years for “blasphemy.”

Ms. Momeni, a masters student at the California State University at North Ridge, has been detained in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison according to Amnesty international, while living with her family in Iran, researching the Women’s Movement and conducting video interviews as part of a *One Million Signatures Campaign *to end discriminatory laws against women in Iran. It is reported that she is being detained without charges and that police have take her footage and computer after she was pulled aside for “suspicion of having committed a traffic offense.”

According to reports [3] Mehdi Zakeriam, a professor of human rights in Iran, was arrested [4] on August while awaiting visa clearance to serve as a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s law school. It has been reported that he has been charged by Iran with “espionage.”

These arrests, and others that have proceeded them, violate basic universal academic tenants of freedom of thought, freedom of inquiry, freedom of research, access to knowledge and freedom of academic exchange and may well constitute violations of international human rights laws.

We oppose any persecution of inquiry through idea, speech or thought control, as well as controlling the exchange of ideas or scholarly information by any secular or religious authorities controlled by religious or ideological dogma.

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