Summary of Committee Charge
The AMS is committed to speaking whenever mathematicians are deprived of the opportunity to practice their profession due to violations of the freedoms enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Affirmation 1 adopted by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. This Committee will assist the Society in such matters by reviewing alleged violations of human rights of mathematicians and by recommending appropriate action to the AMS. For this purpose, a mathematician is a person professionally engaged in a mathematical science (such as pure mathematics, applied mathematics, mathematical statistics, computer science, or operations research) or trained for such activity.
On January 24, 2020 the Turkish court in Bursa acquitted Tuna Altinel of all charges against him. The prosecutors then filed an appeal against this acquittal. On July 6, 2020 an appeals court in Bursa rejected the prosecutor’s appeal. Following an additional waiting period, and as of September 7, 2020, Tuna Altinel’s acquittal of all criminal charges against him has become final. Once his passport is issued, Tuna Altinel will be able to return to France. However, on September 28, 2020, Altinel was notified that his passport application, which remained pending while his court case was in progress, had been denied, without any explanations for the denial provided. On April 2, 2021 the administrative court to which he had submitted an appeal of the refusal to return his passport has ruled in his favor. However, the Turkish State will likely appeal this ruling within 30 days. It has been two years of actions to punish Altinel for his exercise of freedom of speech and he still remains unable to leave Turkey and return to France.
On Wednesday, June 16, the international mathematics community, including the AMS, will gather online in solidarity with Azat Miftakhov. We encourage you to attend the day's events, which will begin at 10:00 am EDT.
Azat Miftakhov is a mathematics PhD student at the Moscow State University in Russia. He was arrested in February 2019 on putative vandalism charges related to a political protest action in Moscow in January 2018. He has been held in pre-trial detention ever since that arrest. Credible reports indicate that Miftakhov has been subjected to serious mistreatment and even torture while in prison. The courts extended his pre-trial detention multiple times beyond the normal 6-month maximum allowed by the Russian law. A Russian human rights group "Memorial" considers Miftakhov a political prisoner. Miftakhov’s trial took place, with considerable delays, at the Moscow Golovinsky District Court, in the second half of 2020. The prosecution deployed testimony from "secret" government witnesses, including a key witness who apparently died in January 2020 but whose testimony was nevertheless admitted at trial. The trial concluded on December 25, 2020, and the prosecutors requested a 6-year prison sentence for Miftakhov. On January 18, 2021 the Golovinsky District Court in Moscow found Azat Miftakhov guilty of the charge of hooliganism and sentenced him to 6 years imprisonment, to be served in a general regime prison colony. Prior to the verdict, over 50 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences published an open letter in support of Azat Miftakov. Miftakhov's lawyer indicated that he plans to appeal the verdict.
Mikhail Lobanov, a math professor at Moscow State University (MSU), was arrested on March 21, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. He was one of several people arrested that day for holding a single-person picket -- his in support of Azat Miftakhov, a PhD math student at MSU held under arrest in Moscow since February 2019 on a putative vandalism charge. As reported by the Scholars at Risk network, Lobanov was arrested in front of the main MSU building while holding a sign that called for Miftakhov’s release. Lobanov was charged with violating a Russian federal law governing rallies and was released later in the evening of March 21. In June 2020, a district court in Moscow convicted Lobanov of violating that federal law and fined him 10,000 roubles. June 23, 2020
There have been a number of reports of disappearances and detention of human rights activists in Egypt.