For Immediate Release
While the international community celebrates the release of detained US journalist Roxana Saberi, there is still continuing vigilance over the unjust imprisonments of Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei. These brothers are world-renowned Iranian HIV/AIDS physicians who were indicted in December by the Iranian government on charges of communicating with an "enemy government."
Physicians for Human Rights believes that treating AIDS is not a crime—it's good medicine. The Alaei brothers traveled the world to share Iran's model of HIV prevention and treatment, not to recruit people to foment a "velvet revolution," as alleged by the Iranian government. Such allegations hurt the future of public health and indicate a dangerous trend toward punishing health professionals for working in the US or having US citizenship.
People from more than 125 countries have been calling for the release of the Alaeis since their arrests. On May 12, Physicians for Human Rights and a coalition of organizations from more than 16 countries will hold a Global Day of Action calling on the Iranian government to drop the charges and immediately release Kamiar and Arash Alaei. Participants from around the world will make statements to Iranian authorities and join a live webcast of vigils and events on an interactive website—www.IranFreeTheDocs.org.
WHAT: Global Day of Action for the Alaeis
WHEN: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
- New York City UN Vigil: May 12th, 12:30-1pm at Ralph J. Bunche Park, across from the UN (42nd St and 1st Ave).
- DC Vigil: May 12th, 12pm at the Iranian Interests Section in Washington D.C., located at the Embassy of Pakistan (2209 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington, D.C..)
- More than 16 countries across the world, including: Mexico, Kenya, Thailand, South Africa, Hungary, Canada, United States, Italy, Ukraine, Russia
- Online Virtual Vigil: All day May 12, 11am-1pm at http://iranfreethedocs.org/virtual-vigil/
The publicly-announced charges against the Alaeis are without credible foundation. The case is marked by clear violations of due process. It is an ominous sign of the Iranian government's crackdown on international scientific exchange, which could negatively impact public health in Iran. Iran has equated public health diplomacy with treason—a dangerous position in this era of global pandemics that requires open medical collaboration to save lives.
The Alaeis' first appeal was denied by Iranian courts in March. They are on their last appeal. For more information on the Alaeis and their case, visit IranFreeTheDocs.org.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.