As the XVIII International Aids Conference started on August 3 in Mexico, two internationally recognized Iranian HIV/AIDS specialists who were supposed to attend the meeting, are being held in prison accused of planning to overthrow the Iranian state.
The two physicians, Kamira and Arash Alaie, are brothers, and have pioneered educational and harm reduction campaigns among drug users, prostitutes, and prison inmates in Iran and throughout the Middle East. They were arrested last month, and have had no legal representation.
Iranian bloggers usually always champion calls for release of political prisoners and civil society activists, but have been quite silent on the Alaie brothers’ case. Too busy with other cases? It's hard to speculate on the reasons, but fortunately an international campaign to support the two brothers has been launched.
Physians for Human Rights has published a video on YouTube asking the Iranian government to free the two brothers.
Boston University doctoral candidate and Kamiar’s friend, Clint Trout, launched a Facebook campaign to inform the world about jailed duo. Trout has created a support club in Facebook, where more than 350 people have already become members. Members can find a list of news reports about the Alaie brothers and are asked to write to the Iranian Health Minister and Iranian ambassadors in their own countries about their concerns.
Blogger Zirkhat says [Fa] that the mother of these two physician brothers insisted in an interview that they had nothing to do with politics, and that their activities were only scientific. The blogger adds that one of the Alaie brothers had estimated the number of people infected by HIV in Iran had grown to over 70,000 from 30,000 two years ago, and just 10,000 four years ago. The blogger says, it seems now that authorities have repressed students, workers and women activists, now doctors are getting arrested too.
Several bloggers such as Nokhostin republished[Fa] the letter of Physicians for Human Rights to Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, where they asked for their freedom.