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New trial date set for detained student Omid Kokabee

23 September 2011

A new trial date has been announced for SPIE Member Omid Kokabee who has been detained for months in his native Iran on espionage charges, according to sources close to Kokabee. The new trial date is 4 October, says a report in Science Insider magazine.

Kokabee, who was working toward a Ph.D. in optics at the University of Texas, Austin, was arrested at a Tehran airport while on vacation in Iran in late January or early February. He had been due to appear in court on 16 July on charges of "illegal earnings" and "communicating with a hostile government," but officials cancelled his trial at the last minute.

News of the new trial date comes as a number of scientific groups -- including SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, the International Commission for Optics, and others -- have signed open letters to the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, requesting clemency for Kokabee. They join an online petition for Kokabee's release.

Read the complete Science Insider article for more information.

Read the SPIE press release for additional background.