Last week we alerted you to a gross miscarriage of justice involving two doctors in Iran. Many of you responded by calling the Mission of Iran at the UN and signing a petition. I wish I could report good news in this update, but so far what we have heard is not encouraging. From an email from Physicians for Human Rights USA:
I wanted to send you an urgent update on the case of Drs Kamiar and Arash Alaei. We still do not have a verdict in the case, but have released a press statement this evening in response to reports out of Iran today that are very troubling. A spokesperson for the Iranian Judiciary has stated that 4 Iranians have been charged with seeking to overthrow the Iranian government. This is the first public announcement of the charges since the trial on December 31. Reliable sources indicate that Drs Kamiar and Arash Alaei are two of the four Iranians mentioned. PHR believes these charges are illegitimate and urge the release of Kamiar and Arash.
As in the case of the Tripoli 6, this case is becoming an international cause célèbre in the science community:
Over the last week, more than 2,000 people from around the globe contacted the Iranian Mission to the UN in New York City, demanding the Alaeis? release. In addition 3,100 doctors, nurses and public health workers from 85 countries have signed an online petition demanding their release, which can be viewed at IranFreeTheDocs.org. Leading physicians and public health specialists and numerous medical and scientific organizations have publicly called for the brothers? release, including HIV/AIDS and health experts luminaries: Global Fund Executive Director Professor Michel Kazatchkine; Partners in Health co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer; 2008 MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH; Hossam E. Fadel, MD, of the Islamic Medical Association of North America; 1993 Nobel Laureate in Medicine Sir Richard Roberts PhD, FRS; and Ugandan AIDS pioneer Dr. Peter Mugyenyi.
?This case is just one more example of how under President Ahmadinejad?s administration, Iran?s human rights record has reached new lows? said Joe Amon, Director of the HIV/AIDS and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. ?Ahmadinejad?s presidency has created an intense atmosphere of fear and intimidation felt even by those working on the expansion of HIV/AIDS services.? (PHR Press release)