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Doctor Arash Alaei and Doctor Kamiar Alaei, two well-known Iranian physicians, brothers and HIV/AIDS leaders, were detained in June 2008 by Iranian authorities. After six months of detention without charges or trial, the brothers were tried as conspirators working with an “enemy government” to overthrow the government of Iran, and on unspecified other charges which neither they nor their lawyer were allowed to know, see the evidence of, or address. They were convicted of being in “communications with an enemy government” and “seeking to overthrow the Iranian government under article 508 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code”; Kamiar was sentenced to three years and Arash was sentenced to six.

The Alaeis’ crime: traveling the world and liaising with colleagues globally to find solutions to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Their travel to international AIDS conferences was used as a basis for this charge — a dangerous conflation of public health diplomacy with treason that harms Iran’s ability to be a worldwide medical leader and protect its people from disease and death.

PHR worked tirelessly, and ultimately successfully, with colleagues of the Alaeis, other human rights organizations, and other interested parties since their detention in 2008, to tell the Government of Iran to immediately release them and allow them to again take up their life-saving work.

Formerly Imprisoned Hiker: U.S. Solitary Confinement As Bad As Or Worse Than In Iran (ThinkProgress Justice, October 23, 2012)

In the latest personal testimony on the cruelty of solitary confinement, one of the American hikers who was held hostage in Iran details how the conditions at California's Pelican Bay State Prison are at least as bad, and arguably even worse, than those he experienced in Iran. Inmates at Pelican Bay have been isolated for as long as 42 years, even as Physicians for Human Rights and other human rights organizations all call the practice torture.

Iranian-Born Doctors Honored for HIV/AIDS Work (Payvand Iran News, July 30, 2012)

Two Iranian-born physicians - Kamiar Alaei and his brother, Arash Alaei - received the inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Award on the opening day of the 19th annual International AIDS Conference, held July 22-27 in Washington.

Iranian Doctors Honored at AIDS Conference (Times Union, July 23, 2012)

Doctors Arash and Kamiar Alaei were honored at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, on July 22 with the first Elizabeth Taylor award for their efforts to advocate for people with HIV and to prevent its transmission. PHR led a successful three-year international campaign to free the doctors following their arrest and imprisonment in their native Iran.

The Amazing Story and Success of the Iran Free the Docs Campaign (Top Secret Writers, June 5, 2012)

Dennis Dufrene, writing in Top Secret Writers, details the success of PHR's Free the Docs campaign in Iran.

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Tech & Human Rights Blog Series: Bringing Low-Resourced Areas Out of Darkness (June 9, 2015)

Power cuts are a daily reality of working in low-resourced, conflict-affected countries like the DRC, and are only one of many such hurdles. These challenges are not insurmountable.

Join PHR as Released Iranian AIDS Doctors Share their Story (November 2, 2011)

Doctors Kamiar and Arash Alaei will speak together on November 9 at the National Press Club in Washington DC to talk about their imprisonment, their AIDS work, and their joy at being reunited. Join us! To RSVP: email

Iran’s Barbaric Execution of Three Gay Men Signals Dangerous Direction (September 12, 2011)

Two weeks ago, Iran executed three men because they were gay. Iranian authorities rarely admit executing prisoners on the basis of sexuality – typically they are killed on trumped-up charges like kidnapping or burglary – but here the men were explicitly charged with the crime of intercourse between men.

Dr. Arash is Freed! (August 29, 2011)

We are so happy to report that Dr. Arash Alaei has been released from Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran.

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PHR Appeals for Release of Imprisoned Iranian Doctor (March 2017)

PHR sent this letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran expressing our deep concern over the imprisonment of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali on false charges.

Letter to Iranian Authorities Concerning the Suspicious Death of Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani (November 2009)

Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called on the Iranian authorities to allow for an independent investigation into the suspicious death of Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani, who may have been witness to the possible ill treatment, torture, and deaths of prisoners at Kahrizak detention center...

Medical Leaders Call for Justice for Iranian Doctors (July 2008)

In partership/conjunction with PHR and the HIV Medical Association, sixteen top US medical experts have written a letter to the Minister of Health in Iran urging the government to respect the basic human rights of Doctor Arash Alaei and his brother, Doctor Kamair Alaei, who were taken into custody by Iranian authorities in late June and are being held incommunicado.

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