Omid Kokabee’s most recent physics paper, published on the arXiv eprint server last March, lists his address as “Ward 350 of Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran.” The University of Texas at Austin graduate student was detained in January 2011 on a trip home to visit his family. This past October Iran’s Supreme Court said it will retry Kokabee.

Kokabee’s field is nuclear physics, with a focus on laser optics and photonics. In a letter to a friend in early 2013, Kokabee wrote that his imprisonment is a punishment for refusing to work in Iran’s security and military system. He had been approached several times; even after his incarceration, he was told he could secure his release if he agreed to work in a military lab. He refused.

Earlier this year Kokabee shared the American Physical Society’s Andrei Sakharov Prize for “his courage in refusing to use his physics knowledge to work...

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