Scholars of the Week/Scholars in Prison

22 March 2012 | From partners

Please click on the title Scholars of the Week/Scholars in Prison to see full article.

Dear SAR representatives,
Following are the summaries of:

(1) Scholars currently seeking placement assistance: a Georgian scholar of conflict resolution, Georgian studies, and human rights; a Syrian researcher in agriculture and plant pathology; and a scholar of sociology and Middle Eastern studies from Afghanistan.

(2) Scholars in prison/facing sentences for whom SAR has issued alerts/calls for letters over the past 2 weeks: Professor Abdolreza Ghanbari, Omid Kokabee, Professor Saeed Leilaz, Dr. Mohammad Maleki, Abdolfattah Soltani, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Ramin Zibaei of Iran.

We ask for your help in reviewing the information and encourage you to share it with your institution and other colleagues who may be able to help.  More information is available from the SAR network office at and +1 212 998-2179.
Network member representatives may use their login ID and password to review more information on each case on the SAR website along with a full list of scholars seeking placement assistance:
To view SAR’s alerts, to download model letters of appeal or to view SAR’s letters on behalf of the scholars in prison/facing sentences, please visit:
Thank you for your help.
Scholars at Risk


Scholars of the Week

FIELD: Conflict Resolution, Georgian Studies, Human Rights
RISK: Risk of arrest/violence (Displaced)
LANGUAGE: Georgian, Russian, German, English (Fluent)

Currently a visiting professor at two universities in the US, this scholar holds an MS in Conflict Resolution from a university in the United States. He was formerly a professor of Conflict Resolution an institute in Georgia, and he remains an active participant in the civil rights movement in his home country. He has written numerous articles on the need for democratic reform and received two prestigious international awards in recognition of his commitment to human rights and free expression. He is also an acclaimed creative writer and recently published a book of bilingual poetry and a play during a writer’s residency in the US. Currently in the US, he now seeks opportunities to continue his teaching and/or writing in Canada or the US.

FIELD: Agriculture, Plant Pathology
RISK: General/Situational Risk (Displaced)
LANGUAGE: Arabic, English

The scholar is currently completing a 1-year post-doctoral fellowship in the field of plant pathology in Canada. His PhD dissertation title was “Selection of plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) through molecular and biochemical approaches to manage Root Rot and Bacterial Blight of Cotton.” During his MSc program, the scholar developed a sandpaper method for proving pathogenicty of Xanthomonas axonopdis pv.malvacearum as a new technique. The scholar has knowledge and expertise in characterization, detection, and diagnosis using molecular techniques (Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), RAPD, AFLP markers, SDS-PAGE, 2D gel electrophoresis, Southern blot, Northern blot, and Western blot). He has isolated, cloned, and sequenced the ITS region of Pseudomonas fluorescence and Baccillus subtlis and deposited in GenBank, NCBI, USA. He has participated in a number of international seminars related to food safety and plant protection and has experience in lab and field techniques as well as an interest in bioinformatics. His current research is on “biological control of soil-borne plant pathogen using genetic engineering tools”, which focuses on managing plant diseases using natural microorganisms rather than chemical applications. The scholar is seeking opportunities to complete his current research in Canada or the US.

FIELD: Sociology, Middle Eastern Studies
RISK: Threat to life/person
LANGUAGE: Arabic, Farsi, English (Intermediate)
EDUCATION: PhD (In Progress)

This scholar holds an MA in Theoretical-Cultural Sociology and an MA in Islamic Philosophy from a university in Iran and was pursuing his PhD at the same university before he was expelled and forced to leave Iran. He was most recently a Professor of Sociology at a higher education institute in Afghanistan, where he taught courses on the sociology of education, development, inequality, cities, rural areas, history and memory, and art and literature. He has researched and published extensively on contemporary issues in Iran and Afghanistan, urban sociology, sociology of gender, mistreatment of minorities, and collective memory, and his work includes academic articles, sociological research studies, and opinion pieces. He is currently revising two books, one on theology and genocide and another on memory and history, which he hopes to publish. He would also like to conduct research on the Quran as a book of collective memory and on religious architecture as an expression of Islamic ideology. Currently in Afghanistan, he seeks opportunities to pursue his research and writing in a safe and stable environment.


Scholars in Prison

Scholars at Risk has issued calls for letters on behalf of the following scholars who are in prison or face sentences against them. To view SAR’s alerts, to download model letters of appeal or to view SAR’s letters on behalf of the following scholars, please visit:

On March 16, 2012, SAR issued a letter calling for intervention on behalf of the following scholars:

Professor Abdolreza Ghanbari of Iran
FIELD: Persian Literature
RISK: Detained, Facing Death Sentence

Omid Kokabee of Iran
FIELD: Physics
RISK: Detained

Professor Saeed Leilaz of Iran
FIELD: Journalism, Economics
RISK: Detained

Dr. Mohammad Maleki of Iran
FIELD: Higher Education
RISK: Detained

Abdolfattah Soltani of Iran
FIELD: Human Rights
RISK: Detained

Nasrin Sotoudeh of Iran
FIELD: Human Rights, Law
RISK: Detained

Ramin Zibaei of Iran
FIELD: Psychology
RISK: Detained

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