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SPIE member Kokabee sentenced to 10 years by Iranian court

15 May 2012

Omid KokabeeSPIE member Omid Kokabee, an Iranian graduate student who has been imprisoned in Tehran for the past 15 months, was sentenced to 10 years on 13 May for allegedly conspiring with foreign countries against Iran.

Kokabee, 29, is a graduate of Sharif University of Technology in Tehran who later studied at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain where he obtained a master's degree in photonics. He was arrested in Tehran in February 2011 on charges of "communicating with a hostile government" and "illegal earnings."

According to a report from Nature, 10 to 15 people were tried at the same time, under the collective charge of collaborating with Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad. Whereas other prisoners in the group declared themselves guilty in a television broadcast on the evening before the trial, the physics student has consistently denied all charges and refused to speak in court.

Last August, in a letter addressed to Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the presidents of four optical societies appealed for a quick review of Kokabee's case so that he could resume his research.