Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amnesty International

Jailed Scientist Denied Urgent Medical Care: Omid Kokabee

Amnesty International
‍Amnesty International
September 30, 2014
Appeal/Urgent Action

Iranian physicist Omid Kokabee, serving a 10-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison, is in urgent need of medical care, which the authorities have refused. He is suffering from a number of health problems, including kidney stones and heart palpitations, exacerbated by the poor conditions in which he is held. He is a prisoner of conscience.

Omid Kokabee, aged 32, has been examined by the prison medical clinic doctors and dentist and told by them that he needs further care outside the prison, but the authorities have either rejected, or left unanswered, his several requests for outside medical care. Omid Kokabee’s health has deteriorated since August, when he was transferred from Section 350 to the Quarantine area of Section seven, which is in a basement. There, he has been kept in a small windowless cell and all prisoners in this unit are denied access to the prison courtyard for exercise.


Since he was jailed in January 2011, Omid Kokabee has lost four teeth and has been told dental work must be done on another four teeth. He has had persistent kidney problems since childhood, and they have been exacerbated by prison conditions. He has passed kidney stones on at least five occasions in prison. Omid Kokabee has also suffered recently from heart palpitations, shortness of breath, pain and pressure on the left side of his chest, and “migratory” joint pain (pain that moves to other joints in the body). For his kidneys and heart palpitations he requires diagnostic testing which can only be done outside prison. He has also been having stomach pains.


Please write immediately in English, Persian, Arabic, Spanish or your own language:

Calling on the Iranian authorities to release Omid Kokabee immediately and unconditionally as he is a prisoner of conscience;

Calling on them to ensure that he receives any medical treatment he may require, outside prison if necessary, as recommended by the prison clinic.



Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Islamic Republic Street- End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @khamenei_ir

Salutation: Your Excellency


Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

c/o Public Relations Office

Number 4, 2 Azizi Street intersection

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Salutation: Your Excellency



And copies to:

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Hassan Rouhani

The Presidency

Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square

Tehran, Eslamic Republic of Iran

Twitter:@HassanRouhani (English) @Rouhani_ir (Persian)



Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation


Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.





Omid Kokabee is a prisoner of conscience held solely for his refusal to work on military projects in Iran and as a result of spurious charges related to his legitimate scholastic ties with academic institutions outside of Iran.

Omid Kokabee had been pursuing post-doctoral studies in the USA when he was arrested in January 2011, when he went to Iran to visit his family. He was held in solitary confinement for 15 months and was subjected to prolonged interrogations, and pressured to make “confessions”. In May 2012, after an unfair trial in a Revolutionary Court at which it is understood that no evidence was presented against him, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having “connections with a hostile government”. His sentence was upheld on appeal in August 2012.

In an open letter written from prison in April 2013 Omid Kokabee said: “During interrogations which were conducted in solitary confinement, while all my communication with my family and the outside world was cut off, and while I was constantly being put under pressure and threats by receiving news about the horrible physical and mental state of my family, I was asked again and again to write up various versions of my personal history after 2005.”

Omid Kokabee has also said that since he graduated from university in 2005 he had been “invited several times to work as a scientist and technical manager for military and intelligence projects”. This included being offered admission to a PhD program with full sponsorship by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. He declined all invitations.

Omid Kokabee was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Prize by the American Physical Society in 2013, for “his courage in refusing to use his physics knowledge to work on projects that he deemed harmful to humanity, in the face of extreme physical and psychological pressure.”

Prison conditions in Iran are notoriously poor, and sometimes amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Poor conditions, including overcrowding, inadequate food and sanitation and the denial of adequate medical care, exacerbate prisoners’ medical problems. Many prisoners’ requests for medical leave under Iranian prison regulations, even in very serious cases, are routinely denied. Whether done on purpose or by neglect, failing to provide adequate medical care to prisoners is a breach of Iran’s international human rights obligations. The denial of medical treatment may amount to a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment, which is enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also recognizes the right of all people to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners also states that prisoners who require specialist treatment must be transferred to specialist institutions or civil hospitals.

Iran’s own prison regulations are also routinely flouted by prison and judicial officials. Article 229 of the Iranian Prison Regulations stipulates that a prisoner suffering from a serious medical condition that cannot be treated inside prison or whose condition will worsen if they stay in prison, should be released by the prison authorities for one month’s medical leave, renewable on the recommendation of a doctor and with the agreement of the Prison Director.

Name: Omid Kokabee

Gender m/f: m



UA: 244/14 Index: MDE 13/052/2014 Issue Date: 30 September 2014