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Campaign to free US physicist detained in Iran gains momentum

The Middle East Studies Association of North America is pushing for the release of Omid Kokabee, a physicist and doctoral student at the University of Texas-Austin who was arrested in Iran while visiting his family in February 2011.

In a 3 January letter to Ayatollah Khamenei via the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, MESA president Peter Sluglett—a professor at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute—noted that Kokabee spent 15 months in prison before his case was brought before a judge in May 2012. He was found guilty of communicating with a hostile government and receiving illegitimate funds. After refusing to make a public confession, Kokabee was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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