After fifteen months in temporary detention, University of Texas post-doctoral student in nuclear physics, Omid Kokabee was sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of cooperation with an enemy state, by Judge Salavati in a show trial labeled “Trial of those accused of cooperation with Mossad in Israel”.
On Sunday May 13, trial was held for 15 defendants charged with espionage in the court room of Judge Salavati. This trial was reported and covered in the pro government media, including Seda va Sima (TV) as the trial of Israeli spies.
Eight of these defendants were imprisoned for months prior to this trial. In the courtroom, some of the defendants accepted their charges and even thanked the Intelligence Ministry for arresting them. But Omid Kokabee refused to say anything in court, therefore was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Sharif University in Tehran, Omid Kokabee went to Europe and the United States for further education where he obtained a post-doctoral degree in nuclear physics from University of Texas in the U.S.
In recent years, he had been approached a number of times by Iran’s nuclear program and by universities affiliated with IRGC to cooperate and work with them but he had always refused their offer.
During his incarceration and interrogations they tried to force him to cooperate and work with them by putting pressure on him and his family but Kokabee refused and said it would always be an honor to serve his country through academic activities but has no interest in working on military projects.
During his fifteen months of incarceration, many domestic and foreign scientific organizations and scientists voiced their support for this 30 year old scientist and had asked for his release from prison. Included in this group were a number of Nobel Physics Prize winners who wrote a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei asking for the release of Kokabee. Also among them were international science Olympiads and winners of dozens of scientific societies including the Society of the IEEE.
Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran also voiced concern about Omid Kokabi’s situation in his report.
Read Omid Kokabi’s letter to Chief Judiciary dated Jan 2011 describing pressures and tortures he suffered: here