Alexander Sodiqov, a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto, is the subject of a Change.org petition:
[Alexander Sodiqov] was conducting research on conflict prevention in his home country of Tajikistan when he was suddenly detained on June 16th. He remained in detention for more than a month, and his release is conditional on his remaining in the country.
He is also the focus of an online article in Maclean’s, written by four former U of T students. In the article, “U of T fails to act for PhD student arrested in Tajikistan,” the writers claim
Universities need to step up when it comes to Alexander Sodiqov and other unlawfully held scholars. . . .
The writers argue that “universities seem to lack a clear or accessible protocol to secure the freedom of unlawfully held scholars,” and they strongly suggest that universities
develop clear and coherent protocols. When a scholar is arrested in another country on dubious grounds, the university should set in motion a series of actions that will help secure a speedy release.
Today, the same day the Maclean’s article was published online and 45 days after Sodiqov was arrested, Edward Schatz, Sodiqov’s PhD supervisor, started the Change.org petition,
calling on the government of Tajikistan to allow Alex to return to Canada, and on the government of Canada to do everything in its power to secure Alex’s full release and safe return to Canada.
The four former U of T students explain why you should sign this petition:
In an increasingly globalized world, research is being conducted in a wide variety of geographic areas. The areas of particular academic concern are often the least friendly to prying eyes and critical analysis. This intimidation should not be allowed to serve as a barrier to academic research, and universities should stand vehemently behind those who choose to conduct work in unstable regions. Some of us are able to conduct our research from the safety of our offices or homes, but others should not be abandoned or penalized for choosing to conduct riskier research in the field.
I agree; please sign the petition:
Academics should never be jailed for doing academic research. If they are jailed, however, all civilized nations must step in. I am a scholar doing research in Africa, so this story hits close to home. Thanks for taking up this noble cause.