Friday, October 17, 2014

Iranian Physicist Omid Kokabee To Receive A New Trial

This type of prosecution used to happen in the iron-fisted rule of the Soviet Union. But there is a sign of optimism in the case of physicist Omid Kokabee as the Iranian Supreme Court ordered a new trial. This after Kokabee has spent 4 years in prison for a charge that many in the world considered to be flimsy at best.

"Acceptance of the retrial request means that the top judicial authority has deemed Dr. Omid Kokabee's [initial] verdict against the law," Kokabee's lawyer, Saeed Khalili was quoted as saying on the website of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "The path has been paved for a retrial in his case, and God willing, proving his innocence."

Kokabee, a citizen of Iran who at the time was studying at the University of Texas, Austin, was first arrested at the Tehran airport in January 2011. After spending 15 months in prison waiting for a trial, including more than a month in solitary confinement, he was convicted by Iran's Revolutionary Court of "communicating with a hostile government" and receiving "illegitimate funds" in the form of his college loans. He was sentenced to ten years in prison without ever talking to his lawyer or being allowed testimony in his defense.

He received stipends as part of his graduate assistantship that was considered to be "illegitimate funds", which is utterly ridiculous. My characterization of such an accusation is that this can only come out of a bunch of extremely stupid and moronic group of people. There, I've said it!


1 comment:

noddeat said...

Just to add: in the Soviet Union such prosecution was impossible because going abroad was a crime. I think since 70s physicists were allowed to go to the West for conferences but those who decided to stay never tried to return because they knew they will land in jail.

The problem with Iran is that such prosecutions are rare and arbitrary, travel/study abroad is not banned, not only you don't know what to expect on arrival, you also can't apply for asylum as you can't prove that you will be persecuted on return to Iran.