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Renowned Iranian AIDS Doctor Hopes For Jailed Brother's Release


Dr. Kamiar Alaei said he spent his time in Tehran's Evin prison teaching other inmates about health issues.

Dr. Kamiar Alaei said he spent his time in Tehran's Evin prison teaching other inmates about health issues.

Kamiar Alaei, an internationally recognized expert on HIV and AIDS prevention, has expressed hope that Iran will soon release his brother and fellow physician, Arash Alaei, from prison.

The Alaei brothers, who recently received the Global Health Council's Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, were both jailed by Iran in 2008 after being charged with various crimes, including the attempted overthrow of the Iranian establishment.

Kamiar was sentenced to three years in prison and Arash was given six years. Kamiar was released a few months ago.

The Alaei brothers pioneered harm-reduction programs in Iran and founded the country's first so-called "triangular clinic" in Kermanshah, which provided treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, and drug addiction and also offered addicts methadone, clean needles, and other medical help.

In an interview with RFE/RL, Kamiar Alaei said he spent his time in Tehran's Evin prison teaching other inmates about health issues. He also said he and his brother were innocent of the charges against them.

Arash Alaei (file photo)
"All of our activities -- we've been involved in AIDS prevention for more than a decade -- have been focused on health and hygiene issues," Alaei said. "We've never been involved in politics and we will never be, because health has nothing to do with politics."

Alaei said that under Iranian law, his brother was eligible for release because he had completed half his term and was a "first-time offender."

"We hope he will be released and [can] return to his family, pursue his health work, and serve the society," he said.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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