PHR learned on January 20 that Kamiar and Arash Alaei were convicted on spurious charges and sentenced to three and six year prison terms, respectively.
In the wake of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, Iran has signaled that the espionage trial of two world-renowned AIDS doctors is a bellwether for the future of US-Iranian relations.The Washington Post reported on Jan. 19 that an unnamed Iranian senior counter-intelligence official warned the new Obama administration that the case of Dr. Kamiar Alaei and Dr. Arash Alaei exemplifies a “full fledged intelligence war” between Iran and the US.
“If Kamiar and Arash are engaged in any war, it’s the battle against HIV/AIDS,” said Sarah Kalloch, Director of Outreach for Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). “They traveled the world to share the Iranian model of HIV prevention, and to learn from other countries about innovations in infectious disease treatment. Treating AIDS is not a crime—it is good medicine.”
It now appears that the convictions of the Alaeis were based on tainted and unreliable confessions.
Sources close to the trial have told PHR that one of the brothers had agreed under duress to make a videotaped statement prepared by Iranian authorities, who had promised that if he read the statement, both brothers would be set free. Said Jonathan Hutson, J.D., Chief Communications Officer for PHR, "Given the isolation, months without charge and perfunctory trial, and the interrogation techniques and duress known to exist in other cases like this one in Iran, any purported 'confession' in the trial of the Alaei brothers must be viewed as tainted and unreliable."
The brothers have been held in Evin prison since late June 2008. According to a press release issued today from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the mother of Arash and Kamiar Alaei recently broke her silence in an interview with Iranian news media. The press release stated that the mother told Rooz Online that her sons had been held for 63 days in solitary confinement and that she feared that they might be tortured to coerce false confessions on camera.
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