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The American Mathematical Society is deeply concerned about the situation of Azat Miftakhov, a young mathematician from Moscow, Russia.
Azat is a finishing graduate student in Mathematics at Moscow State University, and is a political activist. In February 2019 he was arrested and charged with terrorist activity and the production of explosives. These charges were quickly dropped, but he is nevertheless still in pre-trial detention, now under the charge of having participated in a group act of vandalism resulting in a broken window on a building belonging to the United Russia party.
Many disturbing signs of violation of his due legal process have been reported by the press and by human rights activists. These include torture, harassment of his relatives by local police, and a smear campaign involving homophobic slurs in the media. He has also been denied access to his scientific work. It is difficult to see how the charge of minor vandalism could warrant a year of pre-trial detention and this mistreatment. "Memorial", the oldest Russian human rights organization, lists Azat Miftakhov as a political prisoner.
The Russian government has recently made major investments into the country's standing as an international center of mathematical research. These efforts can only succeed if the human rights of every member of the academic community, regardless of political convictions, sexual orientation or ethnic background, are fully respected and protected by the law.
We urge that Mr. Miftakhov be given a fair and transparent trial and that he receive humane treatment while in detention. We will continue to closely monitor this case as well as the general situation with regard to the human rights of fellow mathematicians.
Adopted by the Council in January 2020 so as to speak in the name of the American Mathematical Society.