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Global Vigils Held For AIDS Doctors Imprisoned In Iran

Protesters at the United Nations participate in one of the global vigils held for Arash and Kamiar Alaei.
On May 12, a global vigil was held for Arash and Kamiar Alaei, two internationally known AIDS prevention experts who have been imprisoned in Iran since June 2008.

The vigils were hosted by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, as well as friends and colleagues of the brothers. Vigils were held in such far-flung locations as Kabul and Rome, Bangkok and Buenos Aires, and Nairobi and New York City.

Participants demanded the release of the doctors, saying that "treating AIDS is not a crime."

The brothers were found guilty of being involved in a U.S. plot to overthrow the Iranian government. Arash was sentenced to six years in jail, while Kamiar was sentenced to three years.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Sarah Kalloch, outreach director at PHR, said, "We are hopeful that Iran would show the same Islamic kindness that they have shown in the case of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, who was facing the same charges as the Alaei brothers."

Saberi was released from a Tehran prison on May 11.

According to PHR, more than 5,000 people from 130 countries have so far signed an online petition demanding the release of the Alaei brothers.

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