Politics wins over HIV/AIDS: Two prominent Iranian HIV/AIDS doctors jailed for nine years

Two prominent Iranian HIV/AIDS doctors jailed for a total of nine
years for their part in an alleged coup plot.

Iran HIV/AIDS dedicated Medical Brothers Dr. Arash Alaei and Dr.
Kamyar Alaei were accused of being “key elements” in a plan Iran said
was backed by the CIA. The prison sentences were imposed after a
secret trial after which Arash was sentenced to six years in prison
and Kamyar to three years.

Iran’s state media quoted the Intelligence Ministry as saying the men
were among four people engaged in “creating social crisis, street
demonstrations and ethnic disputes”. The two other defendants have not
been named.

It is a matter of great concern and bad on the part of Islamic
Republic of Iran firstly for forcibly detention (without charges)
since end of June 2008 and now imprisonment.

As an AIDS activist we all should urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to
release them immediately.

Dr. Kamiar Alaei is a doctoral candidate at the SUNY Albany School of
Public Health, and Dr. Arash Alaei is a former Director of the
International Education and Research Cooperation of the Iranian
National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Since 1998, Dr. Arash Alaei and Dr. Kamiar Alaei have been carrying
out programs dealing with HIV/AIDS, particularly focused on harm
reduction for injecting drug users in the war-torn province of
Kermanshah, on the West Coast of Iran.

In addition to their work in Iran, the Alaei brothers have held training courses for Afghan and Tajik medical workers and have worked to encourage regional cooperation among 12 Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.

They were key organizers of a tri-national meeting in 2004 in Tehran to discuss harm reduction and substitution treatment in Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. At that meeting, Iran’s programs proved to be inspiring role models for the region, according to medical experts who participated in the meeting.

The Drs. Alaei’s work has addressed the most disadvantaged populations and patients in the country.

In these activities, Iran’s programs proved to be inspiring role
models of close work with government and religious leaders to ensure
support for education campaigns on HIV transmission and for HIV and
harm reduction programs in prisons.

Neither of the men is known to have any involvement in political activities. More over no evidence was also not produced to show that Arash and Kamyar Alaei were engaged in anything other than international collaboration to fight the spread
of HIV and Aids.

The Iranian government has not formally charged them with a crime, nor have they allowed them access to family or counsel which is a clear violation of the brothers’ human right of access to due process of law.

I, as a friend of Doctors Kamiar Alaei and Arash Alaei, express a
great concern over their imprisonment. had the unique opportunity of
interviewing the young Doctors at Bangkok at 15th International AIDS
Conference and Dr.Kamiar at 3rd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and
Treatment held at Rio, Brazil.

Kamiar was at Boston with his International Health education program
at Harvard School of Public Health and had a deep concern of improving
the Health system of Iran.

Alike me, Kamiar could not participate in the International AIDS
Conference held at Toronto but was very much excited to participate in
this year Mexico Conference. Dr. Arash was scheduled to present about
his work on treatment and prevention for injecting drug users in the
Conference.

At Mexico with the support Iranfreethedocs.org, we ran a signature
campaign also for the release of Doctors. PHR created a petition
calling for the Iranian government to release or formally charge the
brothers. International AIDS Society, IAS also called for their
release, but nothing worked out. This is indeed shameful for all of us
as a part of International AIDS Community and will definitely bring a
negative name to the war of mankind against HIV/AIDS.

I still remember the great moment spend with these two brothers and is
eagerly waiting for their release.

I urge all of you to raise your voice against this serious issue and we all should work to draw International attention to brothers’ plights and must advocate on their behalf.



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