UT grad student faces trial in Iran, scientists call espionage charges 'ludicrous'
As scientists and academics across the world continue to push for his release, a 29-year-old University of Texas physics graduate student faces trial in his native Iran today on espionage charges.
Omid Kokabee , 29, started attending UT last fall to work on his Ph.D. in optics, the field of physics that studies light.
But when he returned to Iran during the winter break, he was arrested at an airport in Tehran and taken into custody, said John Keto , the graduate adviser for UT's physics department. Kokabee has remained in custody since.
He is accused of leaking Iranian nuclear secrets to the United States, accepting "illegal earnings" and "communicating with a hostile government," according to the American Physical Society, of which Kokabee is a member. The society's Committee on International Freedom of Scientists in August wrote a letter to the Iranian government asking for Kokabee's release.
Keto called the situation "ludicrous" because Kokabee never studied nuclear science. His personal page on UT's website lists him as an experimental laser physicist.
[link to www.statesman.com