Un appello per Omid Kokabee
un incontro della manifestazione di Bookcity, che si è tenuta dal 21 al 24 novembre a Milano, incontro di cui vi
parlaremo a breve, ci è stato consegnato il seguente appello, che
abbiamo deciso di pubblicare nella sua interezza e in inglese, così
come è stato scritto.
Kokabee was born in 1982 and is an Iranian experimental laser
physicist at the University of Texas in Austin. He was arrested in
Iran after returning from the United States to visit his family in
February 2011. He was charged with “communicating with a hostile
government” and “illegitimate/illegal earnings”, and was
sentenced to ten years in prison.
is from Iran’s Turkmen ethnic group, the majority of whom are Sunni
Muslim, a religious minority in Iran. He was ranked 29th
in the Iranian universities’ entrance exam, which is held annualy
with more than one million partecipants. He entered Sharif University
of Tecnology in Teheran in 2000 and completed a double major
undergraduate program in applied physics and mechanical engineering.
obtained his Master’s degree in photonics at the Polytechnic
University of Catalonia and his PhD at the Institute oh Photonic
Sciences, ICFO, in Barcelona. Omid started his second PhD at the
University of Texas in Austin in 2010. He has published more than
twenty collaborative papers including seven journal publications.
winter break in 2011, Kokabee traveled to Iran to visit his family.
He was arrested at Imam Khomeini International Airport on his return
trip to the United States in February 2011. he was subject to
solitary confinement for 36 days after his arrest. In an open letter,
Kokabee wrote that the authorities were trying to obtain his
collaboration for the Iranian nuclear program by threatening him and
months of detention without trial and postponement of two trials in
July and October 2011, kokabee was put in trial in Teheran in May
2012. According to his lawyer, Saeed Khalili, Kokabee was charged
with having relations with a hostile country and receiving
illegitimate funds. Kokabee was tried before judge Abolghasem
Salavati with a group of 10 to 15 others in the same sassion, under
the collective charge of collaborating with Israeli authorities.
While other prisoners confessed to their guilt in a TV broadcast,
Kokabee consistently denied all charges and did not speak in court.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The sentence was confirmed in
an appeal trial in August 2012.
physics associations, including the American Physical Society, the
International Optics Society SPIE, the Otical Society of America, and
the European Optical Society, have protested his imprisonment by
writing open letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei. In its letter, the American Physical Society states that:
Kobabee has no training in nuclear physics, is not politically
active, and is not associated with any political movement in Iran.
Rather, his primary concerns were his science studies in the field of
optics. This area of physics has essentially no overlap with nuclear
letter written in March 2013 from Section 350 of Evin Prison, Kokabee
writes that he was asked to collaborate with the military before and
during his detention but has always refused.
september 23, 2013, the American Physical Society, the principal
professional society of physicists in the United States, announced
that Kokabee has been selected as a co-recipient of its 2014 Andrei
Sakharov Prize, which recognizes outstanding leadership of scientists
upholding human rights. He was cited for “his courage in refusing
to use his physics knowledge to work on projects that he deemed
harmful to humanity in the face of extreme physical and psychological
not in good health. He suffers from kidney and stomach problems,
which he had from childhood but have severely worsened in prison. His
requests to be sent to a hospital outside of the prison have been
teaches English, Spanish and French to his cellmates and has
translated two books from English to Persian in the prison. Recently,
he submitted a paper on laser to Iran’s annual physics conference
and, after acceptance, he was invited for an oral presentation, but
the prison authorities did not allow him to attend the conference.
help bring Omid home by writing a letter to Iran’s Justice Minister,
Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, at this address:
asr Avenue, north of Pastor Intersection