Released Iranian AIDS Doctors Share their Story

On November 9, 2011 Physicians for Human Rights welcomed brothers Doctors Arash and Kamiar Alaei to the National Press Club in Washington, DC for one of their first joint public appearances since their release from Evin prison in Tehran, Iran.

The doctors are renowned Iranian physicians and HIV/AIDS leaders detained in June 2008 by Iranian authorities without charges or trial. They were held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for more than six months.

Then, on December 31, 2008, the brothers were tried in a one-day, closed-door trial as conspirators "working with an enemy government” to overthrow the government of Iran. On January 19, 2009, the Alaeis were convicted—Kamiar was sentenced to three years in prison and Arash was sentenced to six.

The Alaeis’ real “crime”? Traveling the globe and liaising with other health workers to find solutions to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The government used the doctors’ travel to international AIDS conferences as a basis for their imprisonment that has harmed Iran’s ability to be a worldwide medical leader and protect the health of its people.

Following a massive global campaign spearheaded by PHR, Kamiar was quietly released after over two years of detention in late 2010. His brother, Arash, was recently released as well, and has just arrived in the US to join Kamiar and continue his studies and critical public health work.

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