This week we mark a sad milestone in the lives of Drs Kamiar and Arash Alaei, internationally renowned HIV/AIDS physicians. For the past year they have been imprisoned in the notorious section 209 of Evin prison. Their crime: practicing public health diplomacy, an act Iran considers treasonous.
On this somber anniversary for friends, family and colleagues of the Alaeis, Iran is witnessing increasing violence and a litany of alleged human rights abuses. As post-election violence in Iran continues, PHR urges the Iranian government to protect the human rights of everyone within its borders and to respect both international law and human rights provisions in Iran's own constitution.
In the aftermath of Iran's presidential elections, hundreds of people have been detained, including Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, a friend of the Alaeis, who directed a moving documentary in 2004 on their AIDS work, called Mohammad and the Matchmaker.
Reports state that many demonstrators have been beaten, and some killed, while hundreds of others have been detained. In addition, there are reports that people seeking medical attention for injuries suffered during demonstrations are being arrested in hospitals, and that doctors are being forced to report to state security any injuries that appear to be related to protests. This puts doctors in Iran in a desperate position: obey the state or care for their patients. If these allegations are true, it is a clear violation of the principle of medical neutrality that PHR has helped develop over the last 23 years.
PHR is calling on Iran to protect the human rights of everyone within its borders and to respect both international law and human rights provisions in Iran's own constitution.
Even in this turbulent time in Iran's history, we must continue to advocate for the freedom of Drs Kamiar and Arash Alaei. You can help by:
The Alaeis need us more than ever. Please take action today.
PHR Director of Outreach
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) mobilizes the health professions to advance the health and dignity of all people by protecting human rights. As a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.
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