Omid Kokabee, jailed scientist in Evin prison has been invited by Birjand University to make a presentation at the annual physics conference in the field of laser technology, but judicial authorities and security personnel have barred him from attending. The conference on August 28, 2013 is held annually by the Physics Association of Iran, and is the most prestigious science conference held in the country where invited domestic and international students share their recent scientific findings.
Omid Kokabee’s field of work and research is design and construction of high-powered laser optics applied in nuclear physics and he has published numerous articles in prestigious scientific journals. He is asked to speak about his article titled “Absolute optimization in the output of optical oscillators,” which is of great value to the technology of building lasers.
Kokabee completed a double major in Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering from Sahrif University of Technology. After obtaining his dual undergraduate degree, in 2007 he went to Spain and obtained his Master’s degree in Photonics at Polytechnic University of Catalonia and his PhD at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Barcelona. In 2010 he moved to the U.S. where he started his second PhD studying optics at the physics department of University of Texas.
Omid Kokabee used to make two trips every year to the city of Gonbad Kavoos to visit family. He was detained in Imam Khomeini airport when he was attempting to exit Iran during his last trip on January 30, 2011 due to his refusal to cooperate in the field of nuclear physics with the ruling apparatus and the military. Due to his unwillingness to collaborate with the regime, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on trumped up charges such as “relations with a hostile country (U.S.A)”, receiving “illegitimate funds,” and “espionage.” He has steadfastly denied all the charges brought against him.
When the young Iranian scientist was detained, many international science organizations such as the International Optics Society (SPIE), the European Optical Society, along with Nobel laureates in physics and chemistry, and the world’s most prestigious scientific journals such as “Nature and Sciences,” expressed their outrage and wrote letters to the Islamic Republic asking for Kokabee’s immediate release.
So far all of Kokabee’s many requests for his right to furlough have been denied. His last request was to receive furlough in order to attend the physics conference per his invitation to be a speaker, but again he was denied. Omid Kakobee has spent over 30 months behind bars in Evin prison’s public Ward 350 among political prisoners, without ever being granted his legal right to furlough.