Maz Jobrani Joins Campaign for Release of Omid Kokabee
In a video message, Maz Jobrani, the prominent Iranian-American actor and comedian, joins 28 Nobel laureates to call for the Iranian Judiciary’s immediate release of Omid Kokabee, the imprisoned Iranian physicist. Jobrani calls attention to Kokabee’s imprisonment on false charges after an unfair trial, and the multiple and serious health ailments Kokabee is suffering from that have gone untreated while he has been imprisoned, which require urgent medical attention.
Kokabee, an Iranian physicist completing his PhD at the University of Texas, Austin, was arrested in January 2011 at Tehran’s International Airport, where he was about to return from visiting with his family. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, on charges of “communicating with a hostile government,” and receiving “illegitimate funds” without any substantiating evidence for either charge. In an open letter from Evin Prison in April 2013, Kokabee wrote his imprisonment is the result of his refusal to heed pressure by Iranian intelligence agents to collaborate on a military research project.
In an open letter to Iran’s Leader, Ali Khamenei, 28 physics Nobel laureates called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of Kokabee. In their letter, the Nobel laureates referred to charges against Kokabee as “spurious charges related to [Kokabee’s] legitimate scholarly ties with academic institutions outside of Iran.” The September 2014 letter was published in the leading scientific journal Nature. In 2013, the American Physical Society (APS), a major organization representing some 50,000 physicists worldwide, awarded him its prestigious Sakharov prize.