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For Immediate Release

Drs. Arash Alaei and Kamiar Alaei Detained in Iran

Cambridge, Mass - 07/18/2008

Physicians for Human Rights today urged the Iranian government to end the incommunicado detention of Drs. Arash Alaei and Kamiar Alaei, two Iranian physicians who have reportedly been detained in Iran by Iranian authorities. The physicians, who are brothers, were apparently arrested at the end of June, 2008 and their current whereabouts are unknown. The doctors are experts on HIV/AIDS and have worked for many years on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities in Iran and internationally. PHR calls on the government of Iran to disclose their whereabouts, provide them access to lawyers and family, and either to charge them with an internationally recognized crime or release them immediately.

Dr. Kamiar Alaei is a doctoral candidate at the SUNY Albany School of Public Health and is expected to resume his studies there this fall. In 2007, he received Master of Science in Population and International Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

His brother Arash is the former Director of the International Education and Research Cooperation of the Iranian National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Since 1998, Dr. Arash Alaei and his brother, Kamiar Alaei, have been carrying out programs dealing with HIV/AIDS, particularly focused on harm reduction for injecting drug users in the war-torn province of Kermanshah, on the West Coast of Iran.

Since 1986, the Alaei brothers have sought the integration of prevention and care of HIV/AIDS, sexually-transmitted infections, and drug-related harm reduction, into Iran's national health care system.

In addition to their work in Iran, the Alaei brothers have held training courses for Afghan and Tajik medical workers and have worked to encourage regional cooperation among 12 Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries. They were key organizers of a tri-national meeting in 2004 in Tehran to discuss harm reduction and substitution treatment in Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. At that meeting, Iran's programs proved to be inspiring role models for the region, according to medical experts who participated in the meeting. The Drs. Alaei's work has addressed the most disadvantaged populations and patients in the country.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. 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, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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