Sunday, October 23, 2016

Good News from Iran: Omid Kokabee is free

We received good news today from Amnesty International on some Iranian POCs. Elise Auerbach wrote:

"Thanks to your untiring efforts, we have received a few pieces of good news on Iran the past couple of months. First of all Omid Kokabee, the talented young physicist pursuing doctoral research at the University of Texas, Austin who had been arrested in January 2011 and sentenced to ten years in prison on unsubstantiated national security charges, was granted a conditional release from prison; he had been out of prison on a medical furlough for several months to receive much needed medical care--including an operation to remove a kidney--and will not have to report back to prison. Amnesty International declared him to be a prisoner of conscience and Amnesty activists sent tens of thousands of letters and signatures on petitions to the Iranian authorities calling for Omid Kokabee's release. 

Amnesty's Rhythm and Rights program collected thousands more signatures on petitions collected at concerts they tabled. Amnesty worked closely with many organizations including the Committee of Concerned Scientists, the American Physical Society, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Scholars at Risk, as well as Omid's many friends and colleagues at the University of Texas, among others. 

We reached out to all the living Nobel Physics prize laureates and thirty-three of these eminent scientists sent letters to the Iranian government urging Omid Kokabee's release. 

We delivered these letters together with many other letters and petitions to the Iran U.N. Mission in New York. Iranian-American actor and comedian Maz Jobrani also taped a statement calling for Omid Kokabee's release. 

Omid Kokabee had been the included in several of Amnesty International's Nowruz Actions and his family informed us how delighted Omid and his family were to receive so many cards from caring people in the US and other countries. 

We were alarmed when Omid Kokabee was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He was only granted medical furlough after his disease had become very critical. Because of your activism he was allowed to get proper medical care and ultimately granted his conditional release. He is now recovering with his family and picking up his Physics studies. "

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring is here, officially..!

Welcome to spring in Amherst, and welcome back to our weekly Human Rights Table at the Farmers Market in downtown Amherst...

We resume our public activities after a long winter hibernation ... The weather was great (a little bit chilly and windy) and lot of activists stopped by our Information Table to get updates on human rights news and campaigns...

Well, some of the good news we shared was the release of Albert Woodfox after 43 years of solitary confinement

"On February 19, 2016, Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox walked free, 44 years after he was first put into solitary confinement.

He was the United States’ longest serving prisoner held in isolation. Nearly every day for more than half of his life, Albert Woodfox woke up in a cell the size of a parking space, surrounded by concrete and steel."
Read more on Amnesty USA Blog
We also had our monthly meeting today at the Jones Library to plan the coming events. One main Summer event we mark on our calendar id the UN Torture Survivors Day (June 26), which our Chapter observe. We plan to have this year number of activities to highlight this event including Media Interviews and editorials, lawn signs, and other possible activities with groups in the area.
Pls follow us as well on Facebook for quick updates...