Free The Iranian HIV/AIDS Doctors!
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 International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. A coalition of groups including PHR sponsored 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.
You can register a protest by signing this online petition calling on the Islamic Republic of Iran to either charge or immediately release Dr. Kamiar Alaei and Dr. Arash Alaei.
Sources: Physicians for Human Rights
IAS Press release: