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Support #Justice4Sanaz

May 19, 2014

Thanks to Disabled People Against Cuts.

Sanaz Raji was awarded a three-year scholarship with the Institute of Communications Studies (ICS) in September 2009, University of Leeds but was unjustly removed from her studies and left in penury. This is despite the University of Leeds’ failure to follow its own procedures.

In order to fight this injustice we believe that Ms Raji deserves to remain in the UK and take her fight to judicial review. This requires your help with Ms Raji’s immigration status. Currently Ms Raji is has her case for leave to remain before the UKBA and it is imperative that she remain in the UK to be able to attend court and give herself the possibility of a fair trial.

Ms Raji has no other abode than the UK and has been her for almost a decade. If she is removed from the UK then she will have to rebuild a life from scratch and unable to functionally defend herself against a well-funded British public institution. We would like to request any help you can offer to stop this further injustice.

Ms Raji began her PhD in October 2009, but after three months into her research project on the Iranian Diaspora post 9/11, was wholly dissatisfied with the supervision she received and in February 2010 made a complaint to the ICS Research Postgraduate Tutor, requesting a change of supervisors. Instead of assisting Ms Raji’s request, as indicated in the University of Leeds Research Student Handbook of the University of Leeds, the Postgraduate Research Tutor forced Ms Raji into a unworkable supervisory arrangement that left her open to further institutional racism and victimization by the supervisory team designated to her research project. Additionally, Ms Raji did not receive the required ten supervision meetings as stipulated in the Research Student Handbook.

Despite passing her upgrade transfer viva in September 2010 and making good progress on her research, Ms Raji’s scholarship was wrongfully revoked on the 15th August 2011, two weeks before the start of the 2011-2012 academic year. The ICS breached their own rules and conditions concerning the removal of a scholarship, indicating,

Student whose progress or conduct is considered unsatisfactory may have their Scholarships terminated. In such cases four weeks’ notice should be given to enable the student to make domestic arrangements.” (ICS Research Scholarship General Conditions 2009-2010).

As a result of these actions by the ICS, Ms Raji cannot continue her research and finish her PhD project.

The unjust removal of Ms Raji’s scholarship has left her in a state of destitution and homelessness for two years, which has gravely affected her health. Recently, Ms Raji was hospitalized at Leeds General Infirmary for two weeks with functional limb weakness, a condition brought about due to the extreme stress that she has been under.

Ms Raji survives on the kindness of friends and her supporters from the Justice4Sanaz campaign, many of whom are utterly shocked that the ICS treat their friend in such a cruel and vindictive manner. We, as members of the Justice4Sanaz cannot understand why Ms Raji, a published author who has written for media outlets like the Guardian, Tehran Bureau/Public Broadcasting Service and academic books and journals, such as Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, be taken off her scholarship and her world-class research project in such an atrocious and inhumane manner.

For two year Ms Raji has fought to have her scholarship reinstated so that she can complete her PhD. Despite going through the University of Leeds internal appeals procedure, which took almost a year to provide a final decision, and the Office of Independent Adjudicators for Higher Education, which took an additional nine months to make a decision, Ms Raji has not found an equitable solution to the horrendous situation she is in.

As this is a matter of utmost urgency we would appreciate it if you could join as quickly as possible in making sure justice prevails.

Please sign and share the Petition to support Sanaz Raji

Read more about the Justice4Sanaz campaign here

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