University of Aberdeen and CISRUL Graduate Hanifi Baris Arrested in Turkey

On 4 July 2018, our dear colleague and former PhD Student here at the University of Aberdeen, Hanifi Baris, was arrested by the Turkish police for allegedly posting “criminal content” to social media.


7 days later now, Hanifi is still imprisoned in the Silivri No. 5 Closed Prison, and waiting for a trial in Turkey’s 11th Penal Judgeship of Peace, as reported by Academics for Peace on Bianet.  We have started a petition on, demanding Hanifi’s release, and are really grateful to the nearly 4,000 international signatories from around the globe who have supported Hanifi’s cause.  Among them are scholars Étienne Balibar, Judith Butler, and Ilan Pappé, among many others.  Please sign and share the petition as widely as possible to continue showing support to Hanifi using! Don’t forget to use #FreeHanifi and#HanifiyeÖzgürlük

Earlier this week we were able to communicate your support with Hanifi, and some of us were able to write personal letters of support to him.  In turn, we are extremely happy to receive responses from our dear friend, who first and foremost thanked everyone for the tremendous outpouring of public support.

Hanifi also responded to those of us who were able to write to him personally in the following letter:

“Dear and beloved friends and colleagues,
Dear Eve, Wendy, Anna, Rose, Saerom, Chuck, Marek, Trevor, Emillio, Camilo, Alba and Sara, Karin, Rachel, Andrea, Ulisses, and Engin….

Dearest friends, I wish I could write you separately, but I can only say hello to all of you at once now.
I am delighted and ecstatic for having received your thoughtful and lovely messages.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”36926066_10155356583550755_7622470393709723648_n.jpg

This is the first time that I feel a big smile on my face since I have been arrested.  Your messages, support and solidarity have filled my heart with a profound joy and love.  I can almost touch my smile and the joy within.  And I am sure this wonderful feeling won’t fade away when I am back in my cell; your thoughts, words, friendship, love, love, and love will inspire me and keep me warm for the rest of my days. I love you all!

2018.07.09.  Yours, Hanifi.”


Though its with the warmest feelings that we share these words from Hanifi, we are still very concerned about him.  If you would like to help raise awareness, flyers are available here and should be printed double-sided on A4.  Further actions have been planned and will be announced following news of Hanifi’s status.  If you would like to feature Hanifi’s story, please email CISRUL PhD Eve. Most importantly, please sign and share the petition and this article using #FreeHanifi and#HanifiyeÖzgürlük and encourage colleagues and friends to do the same. 

Other media coverage of Hanifi’s case can be found here:

The Gaudie

Ahval News










The Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society, and Rule of Law (CISRUL) studies life in the world of political concepts.  The Centre draws on expertise from 7 disciplines to examie how political principles function within and beyond the contemporary West.  Concepts such as ‘citizenship’, ‘civil society’ and the ‘rule of law’ are used as often by policy makers as by scholars.  Core to CISRUL’s mission is informing academic and public debate on how these are used, and to what effect.

CISRUL brings together an extraordinary range of researchers, including PhD students, to study these and other political principles, including democracy, human rights and pluralism. We consider how they have been fostered historically, debated philosophically and in politics, fought over by social movements, codified in law, transmitted through education and the media, and lived out in everyday life.

Headed by Trevor Stack (Spanish and Latin American Studies), CISRUL’s membership reaches across the College of Arts and Social Sciences to house a vibrant, diverse debate about the political concepts which underpin our modern world. It brings to bear expertise in History (Michael Brown, Karin Friedrich, Robert Frost), Law (Matyas Bodig, Tamas Gyorfi), Politics (Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti, Ritu Vij), Sociology (Nadia Kiwan, Claire Wallace), Divinity (Brian Brock, Michael Laffin) and Education (Rachel Shanks), and works closely with other groups such as the Centre for Early Modern Studies, ArabTrans and the Centre for Global Security and Governance.

Founded in 2009. CISRUL has

  • held 9 major scholarly workshops and conferences, bringing speakers from 35 countries to Aberdeen, publishing a volume Religion as a Category of Governance and Sovereignty based on conferences in 2010 and 2012, completing a second volume on Political Community based on our 2013 and 2014 conferences, and a volume on Radicalism and the Civil Sphere based on conferences in 2016 and 2017.
  • hosted collaborative research projects on political awareness in City and Shire schools, including outreach activities in the context of the Referendum, and on notions of citizenship in Mexico, as well as an Insight Institute seminar series on Polish migrants in Scotland
  • delivered a successful Sixth Century course ‘What Gives Us Rights?’ with a strong enrolment of 120-140 from across the University, showcasing lecturers from all 3 Colleges of the University
  • engaged with the wider public through an evening lecture series, as well as major public conferences on UK Energy Politics and on the Curriculum for Excellence, which featured speakers from public bodies such as Education Scotland and Oil and Gas UK
  • hosted 17 PhD students and secured a Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND grant to fund a further 12 PhD students from 2018 under the rubric POLITICO (Political Concepts in the World).For additional information or to get in touch with the Centre, please contact Trevor Stack.