Friday, January 2, 2009

Jailed AIDS Docs Tried in Secret

Two internationally known AIDS doctors were tried in secret in Iran on Dec. 31, 2008, according to reports received by Physicians for Human Rights. Drs. Arash and Kamiar Alaei were arrested back in June, apparently on suspicion of traveling to international AIDS conferences as a cover for spreading revolution in Iran.

Their plight has not received anywhere near as much attention as that of Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari, who was detained under similar charges in 2007 before being released after 110 days in prison.

The U.S. State department released a statement (updated link here: apparently with the change from Bush to Obama Administrations, all the press releases were archived to a different place in the ether) about the Alaei brothers' situation in Iran on Tuesday, Dec. 23. In the statement, the State department also condemned the closing of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, which was founded by Iranian lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

Here's an excerpt from the latest press release from Physicians for Human Rights:

The doctors have been held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison since late June 2008. They were indicted in December on charges of communicating with an "enemy government" according to their attorney, Masoud Shafie.

On December 31, the Iranian prosecutor tried the brothers in Tehran's Revolutionary Court on these charges, and also informed the court of additional, secret charges which the brothers' attorney had no opportunity to refute, because the prosecutor did not disclose either the charges or the evidence on which they are based.

Related post: Jailed Iranian AIDS Docs

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