The London Mathematical Society is deeply concerned about the situation of Azat Miftakhov, an early-career mathematician from Moscow, Russia.
The Society understands this situation to be as follows. Mr Miftakhov is close to finishing his postgraduate studies in Mathematics at Moscow State University. He is also a political activist. In February 2019, he was arrested on charges of terrorist activity and the production of explosives. These charges were quickly dropped, but he was soon afterwards charged with having participated in a group act of vandalism resulting in a broken window in an office belonging to the United Russia party.
On 18th of January 2021, after nearly two years in pre-trial detention, Mr Miftakhov was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. This sentence, in a case of alleged minor vandalism, seems grossly disproportionate and several authoritative bodies consider its excessive length to be an act of political persecution.
Human rights organisations and the press have publicised a number of significant violations of Mr Miftakhov's legal and human rights. These include torture, harassment of his relatives, and a smear campaign in some sections of the media involving homophobic slurs. "Memorial", a highly respected Russian human rights organisation, lists Azat Miftakhov as a political prisoner.
The Russian mathematical school is recognised the world over for its excellence in research and education. This is reflected in Russia being offered the opportunity to host the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2022. The London Mathematical Society has a long history of close and warm cooperation with the Russian mathematical community. We believe it to be imperative that the human rights of all mathematicians be respected, in Russia and elsewhere, independently of their career status, political views, ethnic background, and sexual orientation.
We share the serious concerns, widespread in the international mathematical community, relating to Mr. Miftakhov's case, and support calls for his immediate release to resume his mathematical career.