Update: Scholar released
PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 3, 2008) - The
University of Pennsylvania Law School and two human rights groups today called
on the government of Iran to release an Iranian legal scholar scheduled to teach
in the U.S.
Zakerian, an assistant professor of human rights at an independent university
in Tehran, was reportedly detained by the
Iranian government in mid-August while he awaited U.S.
visa clearance to travel to Philadelphia as a
visiting scholar at the University
of Pennsylvania. The Iranian government has not released any
information about his location or condition, nor have any formal charges been
brought against him.
Zakerian is a leading scholar on human rights in the Islamic world," said
Michael A. Fitts, dean of Penn Law. "His
scholarship is at the forefront of international and human rights law and we
remain hopeful that we can welcome Professor Zakerian to our classrooms."
was detained in Tehran
by governmental authorities on or about Aug.15, according to Iranian Human Rights Voice, which
reports that he has been "in a
ministry of intelligence detention center for the past two weeks." (http://www.ihrv.org/inf/?p=783).
Law was joined by the non-governmental organizations International League for
Human Rights and Human Rights Watch in calling for Zakerian's release.
is "one of the leading thinkers on human rights in the Middle
East whose writings have helped us all better understand the
relationships between human rights and Islam," said William Burke-White, a professor
at Penn Law and an expert in international law.
"Professor Zakerian's detention appears to be part of a broader
crackdown on independently minded academics at leading institutions across Iran."
is chairman of the Iranian International Relations Society and a senior
researcher at the Center for the Strategic Studies of the Middle
East. He is the editor of the journal, International Studies, published quarterly in both Farsi and
English, which is devoted to issues of international affairs and human rights. In 2002, Zakerian was a fellow at the Hague Academy
of International Law in The Hague, Netherlands.