Bombings, kidnapping, prosecutions and dismissals. Last year dozens of scholars and students were involved in such incidents, according to the international network Scholars At Risk (SAR).

Over the past eighteen months (until September 2016), SAR recorded 158 incidents worldwide (an average of 9.8 a month). In a previous report over the period January 2011-May 2015, the organisation recorded 333 incidents (6.4 a month).

Tortured and murdered

Turkey and Egypt are the most prominent culprits. Here hundreds of scholars have been suspended, arrested, prosecuted or imprisoned. In Egypt an Italian PhD student studying trade unions was tortured and murdered.

SAR refers to a global crisis. The attacks may differ from each other, but they all fit into a pattern of increasingly fierce attacks on higher education and research, says the organisation. Governments must declare that academic discussion does not constitute treason and that ideas are not crimes.