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Home arrow اخبار arrow Iran authorities must release internationally renowned HIV and AIDS researcher Arash Alaei
Iran authorities must release internationally renowned HIV and AIDS researcher Arash Alaei چاپ ارسال به دوست
VOKRadio, Los Angeles, California, USA   

Iran authorities must release internationally renowned HIV and AIDS researcher Arash Alaei

July 26,2010 

arash_kamiar_alaei.gifBrothers Kamiar and Arash Alaei, internationally recognized experts in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS, were sentenced to three years and six years in prison respectively in January 2009. They were convicted for "cooperating with an enemy government" after an unfair trial in a Revolutionary Court.

Their conviction was based on their peaceful work in HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment, which involved attendance at international conferences.  Kamiar Alaei was released but Arash remains in prison.

 

Kamiar Alaei was released but Arash remains in prison. In June 2011, the brothers were awarded the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights. Amnesty International is concerned the charges against Arash Alaei are based solely on vaguely-worded national security laws.

He is a prisoner of conscience, targeted solely for his medical research and advocacy efforts and for his peaceful collaboration with non-governmental organizations in other countries.

 

Model letter:

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,

The Office of the Supreme Leader Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Email: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary) Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri Tehran 1316814737 Islamic Republic of Iran Email: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it (In subject line: FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani)

Salutation: Your Excellency Your Excellency:

I am writing to you to urge you to release internationally renowned physician and HIV and AIDS researcher Arash Alaei. Dr. Alaei and his brother Kamiar were both sentenced to prison terms in January 2009 after an unfair trial in a Revolutionary Court.

They had both been held in detention since their arrest in June 2008. They were charged with allegedly cooperating with an enemy government in a plan to overthrow the government of Iran. However, the charges were based solely on their peaceful work on the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS which included travel to attend international conferences and interaction with their colleagues in other countries. Kamiar Alaei was sentenced to three years in prison and has been released but Arash Alaei was sentenced to six years. While in prison they continued their humanitarian efforts by establishing a program to encourage their fellow prisoners to stop smoking. In June 2011 the two brothers were awarded the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights which Kamiar Alaei accepted on behalf of both of them.

The work of the Alaei brothers has brought favorable attention to, and interest in, Iran’s treatment programs by the international community. I believe the Iranian government should welcome their enormous contribution on behalf of the public good. I urge you to release Dr. Arash Alaei unconditionally so that he can continue his important work. Thank you very much for your attention. Background Arash and Kamiar Alaei are known for their work on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, especially for their work to prevent the spread of HIV among drug users and prison inmates. Both doctors have travelled abroad as a result of their work.

Kamiar Alaei is a doctoral candidate at the State University of New York’s Albany School of Public Health and holds a Masters degree in International Health from Harvard University. Arash Alaei is the former Director of the International Education and Research Cooperation of the Iranian National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. Neither man is known to have been involved in political activities. Iran’s response to HIV/AIDS has been accorded international respect, particularly the preventative measures promoted by Arash and Kamiar Alaei.

According to the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic (published by UNAIDS on 29 July 2008 and available at www.unaids.org) “the… support for needle exchange projects in countries such as the Islamic Republic of Iran… serve as clear examples of courageous, visionary leadership in the response to HIV.” Arash and Kamiar Alaei were arrested in June 2008 and held without charge for six months. The brothers were given a one-day trial before Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, along with two other individuals.

They were accused of involvement in an attempt to overthrow the government. The prosecutor withheld some of the charges they faced, giving the brothers no opportunity to refute the charges. The prosecutor also submitted secret evidence the brothers’ lawyer did not have the opportunity to examine or refute. The two doctors are known to have been charged under article 508 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code with “cooperating” with an “enemy government,” which carries a penalty of between one and ten years’ imprisonment.

Iranian Judiciary spokesperson Alireza Jamshidi told a news conference on 13 January 2009 that four Iranian citizens had been arrested and brought to the court on charges of “communications with an enemy government” and seeking to overthrow the Iranian government under article 508 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code. Jamshidi claimed: "They were linked to the CIA, backed by the US government and State Department... They recruited and trained people to work with different espionage networks to launch a velvet overthrow of the Iranian government." He had previously stated at a press conference on 30 December 2008 that Kamiar and Arash Alaei faced charges of “acting against national security through cooperating with America,” “propaganda against the system” and “membership in groups hostile to the system.” The prosecution is said to have cited the brothers' participation at international AIDS conferences as part of their scheme to foment a so-called "velvet revolution" against Tehran. That conference was funded by the US State Department and organized by the Aspen Institute in Washington DC from 28-30 November 2006. About a dozen top Iranian medical experts attended, with full knowledge of the Iranian government.

On 19 January 2009 The official Iranian State News Agency (IRNA) reported that the two brothers were among four men sentenced to prison for allegedly participating in a U.S.-backed plot to overthrow Iran's Islamic regime. IRNA said that the Alaei brothers and the two other defendants were convicted of recruiting dozens of others and planned to recruit more Iranian doctors, university professors and scientists to provide information to the United States on Iran's infrastructure and civil defense." While they were in prison, Dr. Kamiar and Dr. Arash Alaei helped their fellow prisoners by educating them about how to prevent communicable diseases, by operating a smoking cessation program, and organizing sporting events.

On July 19, 2011, Physicians for Human Rights and International AIDS Society held a press conference at the sixth IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome with Dr. Kamiar Alaei. He described his work on the widely acclaimed “triangular clinics” he pioneered with his brother Arash in Iran; discussed his experiences in prison between 2008 and 2011; and make a public appeal for the release of his Arash Alaei. While he was in Rome, Dr. Kamiar Alaei gave an interview with AI Italy that can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1HBOrrpmOw. In May 2009, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that the detention of Drs Arash and Kamiar Alaei is “arbitrary, being in contravention of articles 9, 10, 25 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 9, 14, 18, 19 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a State party.” The Group also concluded that “the detention of the above-mentioned physicians is also contrary to articles 12 and 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and to Principles 11-1, 17-2 and 18-1 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment” and called on the Iranian authorities to immediately take the necessary steps to redress the situation.

Amnesty International is concerned the charges against Arash and Kamiar Alaei, and the allegations of their involvement in a plot to overthrow the government, are based solely on vaguely-worded national security laws.

Amnesty International believes that the brothers are prisoners of conscience, targeted solely for their internationally recognized medical research and advocacy efforts and for their peaceful collaboration with non-governmental organizations in other countries.

 

 

 

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