Iraqi refugee appeal

December 1, 2006

The appeal by Sami Ramadani about the plight of Iraqi academics (Opinion, November 24) deserves considerable support from your readers.

Today, we learnt that political scientists Abdul Salam Swaidan and Al-Mash-Hadani and scholarships expert AbduHamid Al-Hadithi were found dead on November 24. They had been tortured, their bodies mutilated. All three had been kidnapped the previous week from the Ministry of Higher Education.

They follow 200-plus Iraqi academics who have already been assassinated and the many more who have been held hostage.

We hope those in UK universities will respond to Ramadani's call "to defend the living". This week we have launched the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics Emergency Fund for Iraqi Academics (www.academic-refugees.org).

We would urge all universities and their staff to make contributions to this fund so practical help can be given to colleagues affected by the dreadful events in Iraq.

John Akker.
Executive secretary. Council for Assisting Refugee Academics.
London South Bank University

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