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Science Imprisoned: Barcelona Meeting Brings Attention to Cases of Constraint
Date:7/22/2013

BARCELONA, Spain (PRWEB) July 22, 2013

The plight of scientists denied academic research freedom through imprisonment or other constraints must be kept front-of-mind by the international scientific community, said speakers at meeting in Barcelona earlier this month. Themed “Knowledge in jail: Why are there hundreds of scientists in the prisons of the world?”, the discussion on 8 July was organized by the Science and Technology section of the Ateneu Barcelonès.The case of Omid Kokabee, a student member of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was a special focus, having become somewhat symbolic of similarly imprisoned researchers and scientists.

Kokabee is serving a 10-year sentence in Evin Prison in Tehran. A PhD student at the University of Texas (UT), Austin, Kokabee graduated from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and earned a master's degree in photonics at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya before winning a scholarship to UT. He was arrested in February 2011 at the Tehran airport after a visit to his family, and charged with communicating with a hostile government and receiving illegal earnings.

Kokabee has consistently denied the charges. He was tried collectively in a courtroom with 10-15 others, according to a report published in Nature in May 2012. In a public letter published from prison, Kokabee said his imprisonment is the result of “refusing to cooperate with military projects,”

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