February 1, 2021
We are writing to you because you are organizing “Recent Advances in Classical Algebraic Geometry”, a satellite conference to the International Congress of Mathematicians 2022.
The international mathematical community is deeply concerned about the situation of Azat Miftakhov, the graduate student from Moscow State University who has been detained by Russian state authorities since February 2019. Azat is recognized as a political prisoner by the Russian human rights organization “Memorial”. The mathematical societies of Brazil, France, Italy and the US have issued statements of concern. This recent petition in support of Azat has been signed by more than 3000 mathematicians from more than 15 countries. You can find more information on this matter in our fact sheet.
On January 18, 2021 Azat was convicted and sentenced to 6 years of prison. Our committee is monitoring this case. We intend to continue to support Azat until he is released and his rights are fully restored. While Russia is going to host the ICM in less than two years, Miftakhov’s trial reminds us of the host country’s frequent violations of human rights and repression of freedoms, which are regularly condemned by human rights organizations.
On January 4, 2021, we sent a letter concerning the case of Azat Miftakhov, signed by 47 mathematicians, to the members of the Executive Organizing Committee and Local Organizing Committee of the International Congress of Mathematicians. We believe that the ICM organizers are in a position to communicate effectively with the state authorities in order to free Azat.
We are also very concerned about the news of Alexander Kuznetsov’s arrest on January 31 for peacefully protesting the detention of Alexey Navalny and about the possibility that he may be sentenced to prison and a substantial fine.
We kindly ask you, as the organizers of a satellite event, to take an active position on Miftakhov’s case. Our committee would be grateful to hear of any action you plan to take in his support. Please don’t hesitate to write to us if you need any assistance or information. Consider supporting Azat through your conference web page. You may also consider communicating with the ICM organizers to demand that they take action.
We hope that you will continue to follow the case of Azat Miftakhov and will continue to evaluate your conference’s association with ICM 2022. Attending the congress or its satellite conferences while our colleague Azat Miftakhov is arbitrarily imprisoned will pose a serious dilemma for us and for the entire mathematical community.
The Azat Miftakhov committee:
Ahmed Abbes, mathematician, Director of research at CNRS, Paris
Michel Broué, Professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Paris
Chandler Davis, Professor emeritus of mathematics, University of Toronto.
Fabien Durand, Président de la Société Mathématique de France, Professor of mathematics, Université de Picardie Jules Verne
Ivar Ekeland, FRSC, Professor emeritus of mathematics and former President, University of Paris-Dauphine
Dennis Gaitsgory, Professor of mathematics, Harvard University
Michael Harris, Professor of mathematics, Columbia University
Ilya Kapovich, Professor of mathematics, Hunter College of CUNY, Chair, Committee on the Human Rights of Mathematicians, American Mathematical Society
Raphaël Rouquier, Professor of mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles
Masha Vlasenko, Professor at the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences