In the spotlight
Executive Committee of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (H.R. Network) Issues Statement Concerning Threats to Turkish Scholars
“The International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (H.R. Network) supports and defends the right of fellow academics, anywhere in the world, to peacefully express their lawful opinions and concerns. We, the members of the H.R. Network’s Executive Committee, are alarmed by the increasingly repressive and inflammatory reaction by Turkish government leaders, many university officials, and other intolerant individuals toward hundreds of our Turkish colleagues, solely because they publicly expressed humanitarian concerns about the grave crisis in south eastern Turkey.”
As of Monday, January 25, 2016, 30 Nobel Laureates had endorsed the January 19, 2016 Statement by the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies regarding the plight of Turkish academics.
See list of names. See Statement.
*The CHR, as a committee of the NAS, NAE, and NAM, is a member of the H.R. Network and hosts its Secretariat
Science Article Highlights Crackdown Against Turkish Academics
“Human rights organizations as well as the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have criticized Turkey and called on it to respect freedom of speech… The U.S. National Academies "will continue to monitor the situation closely," says Martin Chalfie, the Nobel Prize–winning chemist who chairs the Academies’ Committee on Human Rights in Washington, DC.”
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Russian Geologist Yevgeny Vitishko Conditionally Released from Prison
December 22, 2015
After a series of unsuccessful appeals, Yevgeny Vitishko was released from prison today following a hearing before the Tambov Regional Court. Dr. Vitishko’s colleagues from the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC), an environmental advocacy organization that he joined in 2009, picked him up from the courthouse and are currently making the lengthy 15-hour drive to his home in Tuapse. Dr. Vitishko served one year and ten months of his three-year custodial sentence. As a condition of his release, he cannot leave the city limits of Tuapse, unless he receives permission from the probations department to do so. These restrictions will expire in February 2017.
Dr. Vitishko is a geologist and co-founder of the private contracting firm, the Black Sea Coastal and Mountain Erosion Management, as well as a member of the EWNC. In addition to his work to abate erosion in the mountainous areas and along the coastline, he spoke out about the negative environmental impact created by Olympic construction in and around Sochi during the years leading up to the 2014 Olympic Games. Read More.
Four Ethiopian scientific colleagues acquitted of terrorism charges
Photo courtesy of Zone 9
On October 16, 2015, after 1 ½ years in detention and 39 trial hearings, four scientific colleagues were acquitted of terrorism charges by an Ethiopian court. Natnael Feleke, an economist; Abel Wabella, a mechanical engineer; and two computer scientists, Befeqadu Hailu and Atnaf Berahane, were among a group of nine who were arrested in April 2014 in relation to their writings under the independent blog collective known as Zone 9. Another blogger, Soleyana S. Gebremicheal, who is living in exile, was also acquitted in absentia. The court, however, has not acquitted Befeqadu Hailu of the charge of “inciting violence”, which stems from a confession he asserts was forced under torture. He was released from prison on bail after paying a bond of approximately U.S. $1,000 and is scheduled to appear in court on December 7. Read More.
Acquittal in Case Involving Mozambican Economist’s Facebook Post
Dr. Castel-Branco, photo courtesy of Voice of America
On September 16, 2015, a Maputo court acquitted Dr. Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco, economist and co-founder of the Social and Economic Studies Institute in Mozambique, of criminal charges related to his peaceful political commentary.
Dr. Castel-Branco was accused of libel and, on June 11, 2015, charged with having committed a state security offense as the result of a November 2013 Facebook post criticizing governmental decisions of then President of Mozambique Armando Guebuza. He faced up to 2 years in prison and a fine. Read More.
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