31 Nobel Physics Prize Laureates Join Thousands of Activists to Call for the Release of Iranian Physicist
Delegation to Present Stack of Thousands of Petitions and Letters to the Iran UN Mission
(October 22, 2014) – A delegation consisting of Amnesty International, the Committee of Concerned Scientists, and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran will deliver thousands of petitions and letters collected by these organizations and the American Physical Society calling for the release of Omid Kokabee to the Iran UN Mission in New York on Tuesday October 28 at 10:30 AM at 622 Third Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets. Among the thousands of signatures on both online and paper petitions, are letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader from 31 recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics between the years 1972 and 2013.
Members of the delegation will make remarks on the plaza outside of the Iran UN Mission and display the letters and petitions to the public before delivering them to the Mission.
The petition delivery is a culmination of efforts on behalf of Omid Kokabee since his arrest in January 2011. Omid Kokabee is a young (32 years old) physicist specializing in laser optics and photonics. He was doing post-graduate work at the University of Texas, Austin when he was arrested in Iran during a trip home to visit his family. He has been in detention ever since. He was sentenced to ten years in prison after he was convicted on unsubstantiated charges of “communicating with a hostile government” and receiving “illegitimate funds” following an unfair trial in a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Amnesty International considers Omid Kokabee to be a prisoner of conscience, who has been imprisoned solely due to his refusal to engage in military research for the Islamic Republic of Iran and as a result of spurious charges related to his legitimate scholarly ties with academic institutions outside of Iran.
Omid Kokabee was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Prize from the American Physical Society for “his courage in refusing to use his physics knowledge to work on projects that he deemed harmful to humanity, in the face of extreme physical and psychological pressure.” He has also been suffering from a number of serious health problems that have not been treated.
The timing of the petition delivery is critical: following a concerted effort on his behalf by a number of organizations and thousands of activists around the world, Iran’s Supreme Court recently vacated the ten-year sentence and is now going to review the case against Omid Kokabee. October 28 also marks the official presentation to the United Nations of the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed. Iran’s human rights record will also be closely scrutinized when its Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is conducted starting October 31.
The delegation delivering the petitions to the Iran UN Mission is calling for Omid Kokabee to be immediately and unconditionally released so that he can receive urgent medical treatment for his numerous and severe health problems.
The letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader calling for the release of Omid Kokabee is endorsed by the following 31 Nobel laureates in physics: Leon Neil Cooper (1972), Brian David Josephson (1973), Anthony Hewish (1974), Burton Richter (1976), Samuel Chao Chung Ting (1976), Philip W. Anderson (1977), Arno Allan Penzias (1978), Sheldon Lee Glashow (1979), James Cronin (1980), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1981), Klaus von Klitzing (1985), Jack Steinberger (1988), David. M. Lee (1996), Douglas D. Osheroff (1996), Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (1997), William D. Phillips (1997), Daniel Tsui (1998), Eric A. Cornell (2001), Wolfgang Ketterle (2001), Masatoshi Koshiba (2002), Alexei Abrikosov (2003), Anthony Leggett (2003), David Politzer (2004), David J. Gross (2004), John Hall (2005), John Mather (2006), Toshihide Maskawa (2008), Konstantin Novoselov (2010), Andre Geim (2010), David J. Wineland (2012) and Peter W. Higgs (2013).