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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


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 who was arrested in February 2019 on putative vandalism charges related to a political protest action in Moscow in January 2018 and had been held since his arrest. Credible reports indicate that Miftakhov has been subjected to serious mistreatment and even torture while in prison.  A Russian human rights group "Memorial" considers Miftakhov a political prisoner. Miftakhov’s trial finally took place 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. 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. There have been several concerning reports about increasingly severe and frequent punishments that Azat has received at the Correctional Colony 17, including solitary confinement twice for a number of days on two occasions. Due to his disclosure that he is bisexual, his prison status has been reduced to the lowest caste of prisoners, thus subjecting him to yet more forms of abuse. Azat was released for a few minutes on September 4, 2023, but was immediately arrested once again on a new fabricated criminal charge. The international mathematical community is very concerned for his safety and health and remains committed to fighting for his permanent release. There is 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. September 5, 2023

Reports and other information


The case of Mikhail Lobanov

Latest Update: 

Mikhail Lobanov, a former 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. Lobanov was fired from Moscow State University in June 2023, and in early July 2023, he fled Russia when his arrest was imminent. He was charged with being a “foreign agent”, apparently due to his opposition to the war in Ukraine. His present whereabouts are unknown, but he is trying to appeal this charge with Russian officials. According to several sources, Lobanov plans to create an opposition movement while in exile. August 9, 2023

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

  • Dmitry Ivanov, a mathematics student at the Moscow State University, was sentenced to 8.5 years in a penal colony. He has been in detention since 2022 and was convicted of spreading "false" information about the Russian military. Specifically charged with making and reposting social media posts criticizing Russia's war in Ukraine.  March 7, 2023
  • 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
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003-2493 USA