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

12884" title="Nature magazine, April 2013" onclick="linkClick(this.href)">Nature reported last April.

The case has been the subject of two letters to Iran’s rulers urging reconsideration signed by multiple optics and photonics societies and international organizations as well as support from international groups such as Amnesty International. These efforts uphold the right to pursue research that aligns with one’s ethics, and contend that Kokabee’s trial and conviction violated international standards for justice.

One of three speakers the Barcelona event, María Calvo of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Past President of the International Commission for Optics and a Fellow of SPIE, noted that such cases “must not disappear from our minds.” Their importance is not only for the scientific community, but for all citizens, she said.

"Not all scientists are free to choose the path they want to follow in their research," said Eugene Chudnovsky of the City University of New York, a co-chair of the Committee of Concerned Scientists. He noted that in addition to those imprisoned, many have been forced to work on particular research to avoid being jailed for not cooperating with their governments. He cited his personal experience with the KGB in the Soviet Union as well as other cases.

SPIE Past President María Yzuel of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona decried situations wherein scientists and researchers are controlled in their academic years, recalling memories of colleagues who were monitored or controlled by the Franco government.

She said that constraints on individual s
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