Help get scholar free
An open letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
We are members of the academic community in the UK and beyond, including China, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea and the US, working at the forefront of computer science, mathematics and machine learning.
We are deeply concerned about the arrest in Iran of our colleague, Abbas Edalat, professor in computer science and mathematics at Imperial College London (“Iran confirms arrest of British-Iranian professor”, News, 30 April, www. timeshighereducation.com).
Many of us have known Abbas for decades as a kind, caring, decent and honourable man, of great intellect and integrity.
It is particularly surprising that Abbas was arrested specifically in Iran. He deeply respects his own rich heritage, background and ethnicity, and we have heard him say only positive things about the Iranian nation and people. He has always been ready to express his love for his native country.
In addition to being a prominent academic, making fundamental contributions to mathematical logic and theoretical computer science, Abbas has worked ceaselessly with bodies such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to bridge the gap in technology, education and development between the developed and developing worlds. He has always promoted friendship and collaboration between the UK and Iran and worked tirelessly to promote peace.
Abbas has taught many generations of students at Imperial. Some of us have written our PhD dissertations under his supervision. Many of us are deeply indebted to Abbas for our own achievements in computer science, mathematics and machine learning – strategic areas of research for the UK and the world – which would have been impossible without his generous teaching, advice and truly visionary thought leadership over many decades.
In addition to inflicting inexplicable suffering on our colleague, teacher and friend, Abbas’ detention is causing a lot of harm to the academic community in the UK, Iran and worldwide.
By signing this letter, we are not trying to make a political statement or to influence international affairs one way or another. We are expressing concern for our colleague, teacher and friend.
We are all extremely concerned about Abbas’ situation and would humbly solicit you to offer him whatever help is necessary to secure his release.
Samson Abramsky, Christopher Strachey professor of computing, University of Oxford
Luca Aceto, professor, School of Computer Science, Reykjavik University
Mauricio Alvarez-Manilla, director at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International and a former PhD student of Abbas Edalat plus more than 50 others
For the list of signatories, visit www.timeshighereducation.com