Thursday, January 22, 2009

Iranian AIDS Docs Get 3 and 6 Years in Prison

While the rest of the world was focused on the peaceful transition of power in the U.S., Iranian AIDS doctors Kamiar and Arash Alaei learned on January 20 that they had been sentenced to three years and six years, respectively, in prison, according to Physicians for Human Rights.

The Alaei brothers' case is one of several recently in which professionals and religious minorities have been falsely accused of fomenting revolution. Lawyer and Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi's Human Rights Defenders Center was raided and shut down by police in December (Los Angeles Times). Her former secretary was arrested earlier this month in a roundup of six B'hai women (B'hai News).

(Update: The LA Times says Sylvia Hartounian, 33, a reproductive medicine specialist, was sentenced along with the Alaei brothers.)

Radio Free Europe has a good summary article that ties all these moves to internal Iranian politics--trying to sow fear among the Iranian electorate ahead of presidential elections in June.

The Washington Post quotes an unnamed Iranian official as saying the brothers' treatment is part of a "full-fledged intelligence war" between the U.S. and Iran. "A soft revolution has been programmed against our country and carried out in some instances, but it was suffocated in the cradle," the Iranian official was quoted as saying.

Further update (1/29/2009): For deep context, listen to Jeb Sharp's excellent podcast on Public Radio International's "The World" about the long-term damage to US-Iranian relations caused by the 1953 coup engineered by the CIA.

Related posts:
Jailed Iranian Docs
Jailed AIDS Docs Tried in Secret
Sentences Expected for Iranian AIDS Docs

1 comment:

Mari said...

Great job getting the teaser text to show up in an RSS feed! I'll definitely be clicking through more now. :)