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For Immediate Release

World-Renowned HIV/AIDS Doctors Arrive in US

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

Cambridge, Mass. - 10/22/2011

Physicians for Human Rights (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 and Dr. Arash Alaei was released last month.

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, have 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.

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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