Committee on Human Rights of Mathematicians

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.

Full Committee Charge

Membership

If you are concerned that the human rights of a mathematician have been violated and would like to bring this to the attention of the AMS Committee on Human Rights of Mathematicians, please send an email.

Recent Cases

The case of Azat Miftakhov

Latest Update: 

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 lawyers appealed, but the verdict and his sentence were upheld by the Moscow City Court on June 9, 2021. Unfortunately, in July 2021, Miftakhov was moved to the Correctional Colony number 17 in Omutinsk in Kirov Province, known for mistreatment and torture of prisoners by the authorities. On April 21, 2022 a cassation court in Moscow held a hearing on Miftakhov's appeal and reduced his sentence by only three months. The international mathematical community is very concerned for his safety and health and remains committed to fighting for his release. There is currently a letter circulating to the International Mathematical Union Executive Committee calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Russian mathematicians can still sign on to this open letter to support Azat Miftakov

Reports and other information

 

The case of Mikhail Lobanov

Latest Update: 

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

Reports and other information:


Cases of Human Rights Violations in Eqypt

Latest Updates: 

There have been a number of reports of disappearances and detention of human rights activists in Egypt. 

 

News and Information on Human Rights

  • Tuna Altinel, a Turkish mathematician at the Université de Lyon, France, has once again had his passport invalidated. On April 26, 2022, a Turkish appeals court ruled against him based on an unknown inquiry and according to Turkish administrative law, the decision of the appeals court is final. This despite being acquitted of all "terrorism-related charges" in January 2020 by a Turkish administrative court in Bursa. Altinel served 81 days in detention and many months of trial proceedings prior to his initial acquittal simply for exercising his freedom of speech. With the aid of his legal counsel, he plans to appeal this most recent ruling at the Constitutional court, which is the last remaining appeal he can make in Turkey before taking his case to the European court of human rights. May 11, 2022
  • A number of mathematicians have been among the more than 5,000 said to have been detained or arrested in more than 90 Russian cities for participation in largely peaceful protests over the sentencing of political dissident Alexei Navalny. These mathematicians include Alexander Kuznetsov, professor in the Higher School of Economics and at the Steklov Institute and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Science. He was arrested along with his daughter at a Navalny protest rally on January 31. He was held for several days and subsequently fined 15,000 rubles and released. Anna Wellikok, a St. Petersburg State University graduate and new instructor at the Big Data and Information Retrieval School, was convicted of retweeting a call to a Navalny demonstration and sentenced to 14 days administrative arrest and removed from her school’s faculty list. Others include Vasily Mokin, a former Mathematical Olympiad gold medal winner who studied at Moscow State University; Pavel Thomas, a graduate of the Higher School of Economics Faculty of Mathematics, sentenced to seven days in jail; and mathematics student Ilya Dumansky, sentenced to 10 days of administrative arrest. Other students detained include Yuri Arutyunov, Daniel Kopytov and Andrey Pereveev. There are uncorroborated reports of harsh measures taken against protesting students and professors and most Russian universities warn against taking part or they could face being expelled and possible criminal liability. February 9, 2021

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Staff Contact

Karen Saxe
American Mathematical Society
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Washington, DC 20003-2493 USA