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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 a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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