Thursday, January 08, 2009

Treating AIDS Is Not A Crime

Iran, Free Doctors Arash & Kamiar Alaei
(an exert from the website)

"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.

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

On December 31, 2008, the brothers were tried in a one-day secret army trial. The brothers have been charged with attempt to overthrow the Iranian government and a number of secret charges that the governement would not share with doctors' attorney. A verdict is expected on Saturday.

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