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Lasers & Sources

New letter from optics groups calls for Kokabee release from Tehran prison

SPIE Newsroom
12 June 2012

Omid Kokabee

Iran's sentencing of SPIE member Omid Kokabee to 10 years in prison has led to a second letter from a coalition of optics organizations on his behalf. Signing the 7 June letter were presidents of the European Optical Society, the Optical Society (OSA), and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

The letter was addressed to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in care of the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee.

"The international optics community is particularly concerned with the threat to scientific freedom and academic research that Mr. Kokabee's trial and imprisonment represent," the letter says. It raises concerns that Kokabee's imprisonment "may lead to the exclusion of Iranian researchers from international collaboration."

Kokabee, 29, an Iranian graduate student who has been imprisoned in Tehran since February 2011, was sentenced on 13 May for allegedly conspiring with foreign countries against Iran. He had been charged with communicating with a hostile government and receiving illegal earnings.

A recent petition was launched by the Committee of Concerned Scientists to generate support for an appeal to Iran for Kokabee's release.

Full press release from SPIE | Letter from optics groups