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World-Renowned HIV/AIDS Doctors Arrive in US

Doctors Kamiar and Arash Alaei arrival concludes 3-year campaign spearheaded by PHR

PHR today announced the arrival of prominent Iranian AIDS doctors Arash Alaei and Kamiar Alaei in the US following 3 years in prison in Tehran. During their imprisonment, PHR spearheaded a 3-year international campaign which called for their release and engaged hundreds of leading AIDS experts, virologists, and health organizations. In late 2010, Dr. Kamiar Alaei was released; Dr. Arash Alaei was released last month. Media Contact
Megan Prock
PHR Senior Press Officer
mprock [at] phrusa [dot] org
Tel: 617-301-4237
Cell: 617-510-3417

Drs. Arash and Kamiar Alaei were arrested in June 2008 and wrongfully convicted in January 2009 on charges of communicating with an enemy government. The Iranian government used the doctors’ travel to international AIDS conferences and meetings with colleagues in the United States as a basis for the charges.

“PHR, along with other members of the health and human rights community, has been working tirelessly to secure the release of Arash and Kamiar for more than three years,” said Susannah Sirkin, Deputy Director of PHR. “Doctors and other health professionals all over the world often face persecution for simply doing their job, and PHR has a long history of advocating on behalf of these doctors for justice and accountability.”

PHR, together with other doctors and public health workers in dozens of countries around the world, organized Global Days of Action and contacted Iranian embassies to press for the release of the Alaei brothers. PHR organized the campaign to free the Alaeis and hosted iranfreethedocs.org, where supporters from around the world posted videos and messages of support.

“Knowing that PHR and its members were working on our behalf sustained us when all seemed lost,” said Dr. Kamiar Alaei. “PHR is the one organization that uses the expertise and voice of doctors such as Arash and me to help protect human rights around the world.”

In June, Dr. Kamiar Alaei accepted the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights on behalf of both brothers. In July, at the annual International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome, Dr. Kamiar Alaei spoke for the first time since his release about his work at a press conference hosted by PHR and International AIDS Society.


About Physicians for Human Rights

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent, non-profit organization that uses medical and scientific expertise to investigate human rights violations and advocate for justice, accountability, and the health and dignity of all people. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe:

  • 1988 – First to document Iraq’s use of chemical weapons against Kurds
  • 1996 – Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans
  • 1996 – Produced critical forensic evidence of genocide in Rwanda
  • 1997 – Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 – Warned of health and human rights catastrophe prior to the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 – Documented and analyzed the genocide in Darfur
  • 2005 – Detailed the story of tortured detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay
  • 2010 – Presented the first evidence showing that CIA medical personnel engaged in human
    experimentation on prisoners in violation of the Nuremberg Code and other provisions

PHR Announces Global Day of Action for Dr. Arash Alaei

Health professionals, scientists and citizens call for immediate release of jailed doctor in Iran

Cambridge, Mass. – Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today announced a Global Day of Action for Dr. Arash Alaei during which health professionals, scientists and concerned citizens will appeal to the Iranian authorities for the immediate release of the internationally renowned HIV/AIDS doctor. During today’s Global Day of Action, PHR and its supporters will engage in a social media and viral campaign to call for the release of Dr. Arash Alaei from Iranian prison.

Drs. Arash and Kamiar Alaei are internationally renowned HIV/AIDS physicians who were arrested in June 2008 and wrongfully convicted in January 2009 on charges of communicating with an enemy government. The Iranian government used the doctors’ travel to international AIDS conferences and meetings with colleagues in the United States as a basis for the charges. In late 2010, Dr. Kamiar Alaei was released following 870 days in prison in Iran, but Dr. Arash Alaei remains in Evin Prison in Tehran.

On Tuesday, July 19at the annual International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome, PHR and International AIDS Society will convene a press conference with Dr. Kamiar Alaei where he will describe his work and make a public appeal for the release of his imprisoned brother. Moderating the press conference will be Susannah Sirkin, Deputy Director of PHR.

WHEN

19 July 2011, 10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

WHERE

IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention
Auditorium del Parco della Musica
Viale Pietro de Coubertin 30
Press Conference Room in the Media Center
Rome, Italy

Sign the petition, which includes as signatories prominent AIDS leaders in medicine, science and education, urging the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, to immediately release Dr. Arash Alaei.

 

MEDIA CONTACT
Megan Prock
Senior Press Officer
mprock [at] phrusa [dot] org
Tel: 617-301-4237
Cell: 617-510-3417

On Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, PHR and International AIDS Society will convene a press conference in Rome, Italy at 10-10:45 a.m., with recently released physician and AIDS program innovator, Dr. Kamiar Alaei. He will describe his work on the widely acclaimed “triangular clinics” he pioneered with his brother in Iran; discuss his experiences in prison between 2008 and 2011; and make a public appeal for the release of his imprisoned brother, Dr. Arash Alaei.

Dr. Kamiar Alaei is former co-founding director of the first triangular clinic in Iran. In June 2011, he received the Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights from the Global health Council. He has traveled to Rome to attend the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention from 17-20 July 2011 and advocate for his brother’s release.

Dr. Arash Alaei is the former director of the International Education and Research Cooperation of the Iranian National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

The Alaei brothers were arrested in June 2008 and wrongfully convicted in January 2009 on charges of communicating with an enemy government. Their crime? Traveling to international AIDS conferences and liaising with health workers to find solutions to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Kamiar, sentenced to three years, was quietly released in late 2010 after spending 870 days in prison in Iran. Arash, however, was sentenced to six years in prison and today remains imprisoned in Evin Prison in Tehran after three long years.

Moderating the press conference will be Susannah Sirkin, Deputy Director of Physicians for Human Rights. She has organized human rights investigations and advocated for imprisoned colleagues for more than 25 years at Physicians for Human Rights.

Representatives of the International AIDS Society and the Global Health Council will briefly speak as well.

For media access and credential information, please visit the Media Center page of the IAS Conference website.

For further information contact:

In Boston:
Kelly Bienhoff
PHR Program Associate
kbienhoff [at] phrusa [dot] org
+1 617 301 4215
In Rome:
Susannah Sirkin
PHR Deputy Director
ssirkin [at] phrusa [dot] org
+1 617 999 9728