The recent events surrounding the horrifying death of Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16, 2022, have pained and shocked many Iranians within the country and abroad, including many students and academics.
Ms Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, fell into a coma hours after officers in the capital accused her of breaking the strict law that women must cover their hair with a hijab or headscarf. Her family alleges that officers beat her head with a baton and banged her head against one of their vehicles. The anti-government protests erupted on 17 September, after she passed away in the hospital.
Iranians have raised their voices in protest to demand justice, freedom, and equality for women and beyond. On the evening of October 2, 2022, in response to a protest staged by students at the Sharif University of Technology, various anti-riot forces violently stormed the university campus and surrounding areas. This attack is followed by attacks on other universities that are continuing as we write this letter, including an attack on Tabriz University.
This was the first day of term for first-year students attending the Sharif University of Technology. The semi-official Mehr news agency reported that about “200 students gathered at the campus on Sunday afternoon and began chanting slogans including “woman, life, freedom” and “students prefer death to humiliation”. As the demonstration continued, the slogans became more radical and directed against the clerical establishment,” it said.
The violence erupted in the late afternoon when security forces arrived at the campus. Mehr reported, “security personnel fired tear gas and paintballs, causing some of the students to flee to one of the university’s car parks.”
According to reports, a number of students were beaten or shot with pellet guns, and 30 to 40 were arrested. The current situation in Iran is nothing less than a war zone where thousands of people are putting their lives at risk to put an end to the dress code imposed on women in Iran, making a positive change in society.
The unspeakable violence against students is an assault on the sanctity of education and fundamental human rights. Along with several agencies, journalists and common people, various undersigned members of the global community of academics condemn this attack and severe acts of aggression against universities and students in Iran.
More than 300 professors from top universities around the world and five Nobel laureates, including Lars Hansen, Roger Myerson, Alvin Roth, Richard Thaler, and Robert Wilson, have joined in condemning attacks on Iran universities and demanding the immediate release of all arrested students and faculty and their protection against further attacks and arrests.
- Staff Reporter