Help free Abbas Edalat

May 10, 2018

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). 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
Martin Berger, lecturer in foundations of computation, University of Sussex 

Ulrich Berger, reader at the Department of Computer Science, Swansea University 
Paul Alexander Bilokon, lecturer, Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London
Alan Bundy, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Peter Buneman, professor of database systems, University of Edinburgh
Giuliano Casale, senior lecturer, Department of Computing, Imperial College London
George Danezis, professor of security and privacy engineering, University College London
Mariangiola Dezani-Ciancaglini, Departimento di Informatica, Università di Torino
Martín Hötzel Escardó, reader, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham
José Fiadeiro, professor and head of department, Royal Holloway University of London
Anandha Gopalan, senior teaching fellow, Department of Computing, Imperial College London
Matthew Hague, reader and EPSRC early career fellow, Department of Computer Science, Royal Holloway University of London
Chris Heunen, senior research fellow, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Jane Hillston, director of research and head of school designate, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Edward A. Hirsch, research lead, Laboratory of Mathematical Logic, Steklov Institute of Mathematics at St. Petersburg
Hykel Hosni, associate professor in logic, University of Milan
Michael Huth, professor, Department of Computing, Imperial College London
J. M. E. Hyland, professor of mathematical logic, University of Cambridge
Marina Jirotka, professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Peter Johnstone, emeritus professor of the foundations of mathematics, University of Cambridge
Cliff Jones, professor of computing science, Newcastle University
Achim Jung, professor of computer science, University of Birmingham
Michal Konečný, lecturer in computer science, Aston University
Alexander Kurz, professor of computer science, University of Leicester
Robert Kowalski, professor, department of computing, Imperial College London
Marta Zofia Kwiatkowska, professor of computing systems; fellow, Trinity College, University of Oxford
Jimmie Lawson, professor, department of mathematics, Louisiana State University
Giacomo Lenzi, professor, department of mathematics, Università degli Studi di Salerno
Paul Blain Levy, reader in theoretical computer science, University of Birmingham
John Longley, lecturer, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Michael W. Mislove, professor and chairman, Computer Science Department, Tulane University
Faron Moller, professor, Department of Computer Science, Swansea University 
Sara Negri, professor of theoretical philosophy, University of Helsinki
Luke Ong, professor of computer science, University of Oxford
Catuscia Palamidessi, director of research at INRIA, France
Andrew M. Pitts, professor, Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge
Gordon Plotkin, professor, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Bernhard Reus, senior lecturer, Department of Informatics, University of Sussex
Romeo Rizzi, associate professor, operations research, University of Verona
Giuseppe Rosolini, professor of mathematical logic, Università di Genova
Berc Rustem, emeritus professor, Department of Computing, Imperial College London
Mark Ryan, professor of computer security, University of Birmingham
Donald Sannella, professor, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Dana S. Scott, emeritus Hillman University professor of computer science, philosophy and mathematical logic, Carnegie Mellon University
Alex Simpson, professor of computer science, University of Ljubljana
Luca Spada, associate professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Salerno
Iain Stark, senior lecturer in computer science, University of Edinburgh
Kostas Stathis, department of computer science, Royal Holloway, University of London
Sam Staton, associate professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Perdita Stevens, professor of mathematics of software engineering, University of Edinburgh
Thomas Streicher, professor of mathematics, Technische Universität Darmstadt
Paul Taylor, author, mathematician and computer scientist, University of Birmingham
Carlo Toffalori, professor, Università di Camerino
Steve Vickers, senior lecturer, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham
Mark Wheelhouse, senior teaching fellow, Department of Computing, Imperial College London
Glynn Winskel, professor of computer science, University of Cambridge
Martin Ziegler, associate professor, Complexity and Real Computation Lab, KAIST School of Computing


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