The current H1N1 swine flu epidemic demonstrates the critical need to promote international cooperation in combating infectious diseases. Without open communication among scientists and public health specialists, lethal pandemic disease can unexpectedly erupt.
The Global Day of Action for the Doctors Alaei has launched with a coast to coast media blitz. The New York Times, Boston Globe and LA Times all called for the release of the Alaeis in Editorials today.
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 Iranian brothers are world-renowned HIV/AIDS physicians who were imprisoned since June by the Iranian government on unsubstantiated charges of communicating with an "enemy government."
Yesterday the lawyer for Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei filed a final appeal of their sentencing under article 18 of Iran's Constitution. This is their last big chance to have their day in court, be acquitted of the charges and resume their lifesaving HIV/AIDS work in Iran and elsewhere.
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.