The government of Iran sucks.

Doctor Arash Alaei and Doctor Kamiar Alaei are two Iranian physicians who have reportedly been detained in Iran by Iranian authorities. The physicians, who are brothers, were apparently arrested at the end of June, 2008 and their current whereabouts are unknown. Physicians for Human Rights calls on the government of Iran to disclose their whereabouts, provide them access to lawyers and family, and either to charge them with an internationally recognized crime or release them immediately.

Doctor Arash Alaei and Doctor Kamiar Alaei have played a role in putting the issues of drug use and HIV/AIDS on Iran’s national health care agenda. They have worked closely with government and religious leaders to ensure support for education campaigns on HIV transmission, including those targeting youth, and for HIV and harm reduction programs in prisons.

Since completing their medical training, the brothers have worked in AIDS research in Iran, and along with other clinicians and advocates, helped make the country a leader in prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. They played a part in the creation of Iran’s HIV/AIDS prison program, one of the best in the region if not the world. The program passes out condoms and syringes in the prisons, one of only a handful of countries globally doing so. The doctors have also shared their knowledge with neighboring countries by holding training workshops for Afghan and Tajik health professionals.

Dr. Arash was scheduled to speak at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. A coalition of groups including PHR will be sponsoring an empty chair with his name, to bring attention to the detention of the brothers. Dr. Kamiar, a doctoral candidate at the SUNY Albany School of Public Health, is expected to return to his program in September.

Family, friends, and colleagues from around the world are deeply concerned for the brothers’ well-being. We urge you to take action today to ensure their human rights are protected and they are reconnected with their family.

Here’s the web site. Here’s the petition for you to sign if you like.

If you want to call the Iranians and bitch them out directly, here are the instructions:

- Call the Iranian Mission to the UN at +1-212-687-2020 and urge Iran to release the Alaeis immediately. See the petition at http://actnow-phr.org/campaign/drop_the_charges for talking points. Feel free to add any details about how you know them, and to emphasize their great work on HIV/AIDS.
– Sign the new petition on their behalf, urging Iran to stop this sham court proceeding and release the Alaeis. As soon as you sign on, an email with your message will be sent directly to the Iranian Mission to the UN, and will be added to a list of concerned citizens. We want to inundate the mission with calls for their release. Help us reach 500 signatures by the end of today!

Talking points for Call:

Introduce yourself and where you are calling from ex “My name is Paul and I am a doctor/medical student/health professional in Boston/Paris/Kampala etc.

Tell them why you are calling ex. “Treating AIDS is not a crime. Drs Alaei should be immediately released to continue their lifesaving work on HIV/AIDS for the people of Iran

Add any details about how you know Kamiar or Arash ex “I was a student with Kamiar at Harvard School of Public Health”
After you make the call, let us know by emailing skalloch [at] phrusa [dot] org

Comments

  1. #1 Azkyroth
    January 8, 2009

    Just out of curiosity, what was it they were charged with?

  2. #2 Jonathan Hutson
    January 8, 2009

    The brothers were detained for fomenting a so-called “velvet revolution,” and the prosecutor told international media that his evidence was that they had traveled to international AIDS conferences, drawn the attention of international non-governmental organizations, and recruited and trained people in public health. At the one-day, summary trial on December 31, the prosecutor announced that there were additional, secret charges, based on undisclosed evidence. So the brothers’ attorney did not have an opportunity to defend them on the secret charges, based on undisclosed evidence from faceless accusers. A verdict is expected as soon as Saturday.

  3. #3 Jonathan Hutson
    January 8, 2009

    The brothers were detained for fomenting a so-called “velvet revolution,” and the prosecutor told international media that his evidence was that they had traveled to international AIDS conferences, drawn the attention of international non-governmental organizations, and recruited and trained people in public health. At the one-day, summary trial on December 31, the prosecutor announced that there were additional, secret charges, based on undisclosed evidence. So the brothers’ attorney did not have an opportunity to defend them on the secret charges, based on undisclosed evidence from faceless accusers. A verdict is expected as soon as Saturday.

  4. #4 Lilian Nattel
    January 8, 2009

    Thanks for the link. Done & signed.

Current ye@r *