Adjunct professor allegedly has ties to Syrian regime
An adjunct professor at Rutgers allegedly has ties to the Syrian regime accused of numerous human rights violations led by President Bashar al-Assad.
Mazen Adi, a professor in the Department of Political Science, joined the faculty at Rutgers University in 2015, said University spokesperson Neal Buccino in an email to The Daily Targum.
According to Fox News, Adi was a diplomat and legal advisor to the Permanent Mission of Syria to the United Nations.
In his position, he represented Syria in all meetings, deliberations and negotiations that took place at the United Nations Headquarters, which deals with different international legal aspects, such as administrative law, international trade law, treaty law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was also the coordinator of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
As a result of Adi’s involvement, the United Nations watchdog group called UN Watch has called for his immediate removal.
According to the site, Adi “acted as an apologist for the mass murder committed by the Assad regime against his own people, helping Syria to win impunity at the UN to conduct continued war crimes.”
According to the site, on Oct. 5, 2011, Adi told the UN that Assad published reforms in Syria that were implemented quickly, and allowed for greater participation of the people of the Syrian political process, developed national unity and protected the people. Adi also said Assad put into place laws on peaceful demonstrations, freedom of information and the independence of the media.
Adi also allegedly called Syria a “‘trailblazer’ in ‘standing up to international terrorism.’”
Since Assad was chosen to be president of Syria in 2010, he has successfully suppressed internal dissension, according to biography.com. He expanded travel bans against dissidents in 2007 and has regularly blocked social media sites from being used in Syria.
Human rights groups who speak out against him are regularly tortured, imprisoned or killed, according to the site.
In a September report, UN officials said that out of 33 chemical weapon attacks in Syria, 27 were orchestrated by the Assad regime, according to Reuters.
Former President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Syria in an attempt to discourage Assad from cracking down on protestors, according to CNN. It is believed Assad was killing and arresting peaceful protests in order to resist the country’s transition to democracy.
In a 2011 speech, Obama said, “The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy ... President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. It must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests.”
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer claims Adi was a longtime ally to the Syrian regime and called for the U.S. government to investigate how Adi was granted a visa to live and work as a teacher in the United States.
“It ought to be a matter of profound concern that an American university would allow an apologist for the Syrian regime’s genocide to be a teacher,” he said, according to the site.
According to a University statement, Adi was hired as a part-time lecturer in 2015 because of his expertise in international law and diplomacy, as well as other fields.
“Rutgers faculty members enjoy the same freedoms of speech and expression as any other individual in this country. Rutgers will not defend the content of every opinion expressed by every member of our academic community, but the University will defend their rights to academic freedom and to speak freely,” the University statement said.
Adi teaches courses in International Criminal Law and Anti-Corruption, Extremism, Violence and Political Change and Theories of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism, according to the Rutgers Department of Political Science site.
He is slated to teach a course entitled "International Criminal Law and Anti-Corruption" for Spring 2018.
Adi did not respond to request for comment by the time of publication.