HIV Campaigner Freed From Jail

HIV
Campaigner Freed From Jail

 

Iran
releases jailed HIV doctor: family source

By Kerry
Sheridan (AFP) – Aug 28, 2011

From: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5htbVahi5gAFxXO6XqcKWJO3A6uzA?docId=CNG.2d8b43d5c0ba134157b858447e0197fd.621

Tags (key
words): HIV , Aids, Arash Alaei, Iran, Kerry Sheridan (AFP)

 

WASHINGTON
— Iranian HIV doctor Arash Alaei has been released from jail in Tehran after
spending more than three years behind bars for allegedly conspiring against the
regime, his US-based brother said Monday.

“He
got released today,” Kamiar Alaei told AFP in an email. “He was among
100 Iranian political prisoners who got a pardon today due to the coming end of
the Ramadan religious holiday, Eid al-Fitr.”

Alaei
also posted on a statement on his Facebook page, thanking his friends,
colleagues and family for their “tireless help and support.”

The two
brothers were arrested in June 2008 and accused of communicating with the
United States in a bid to unseat the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad.

Kamiar,
37, was released from Tehran’s Evin prison earlier this year and returned to
Albany, New York where he is completing a doctoral degree in public health.

He and
Arash, 42, who was initially sentenced to six years in jail, were in June
awarded the Global Health Council’s Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and
Human Rights.

Kamiar
said he was detained when he took a summer break from his US studies and went
to work in Iran for a few months.

He served
two and a half years — a term he told AFP he remembered as “870 days,
20,800 hours” — and said upon receiving his award that he hoped Arash
would be released soon because his elder brother had served half his sentence.

The pair
are known for their efforts to help drug addicts infected with HIV and improve
conditions for sick prisoners, and are regarded as pioneers of AIDS treatment
in Iran, where discussions about sex and drugs are often taboo.

Data is
scarce about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Islamic republic, but according
to UNAIDS there were 5,000-10,000 infections in 2009 and about nine percent of
people with advanced HIV infection were being treated with antiretroviral
drugs.

The
brothers began treating HIV-positive patients in the late 1990s, and they
developed a three-pronged program that integrated prevention, care and social
support.

This
“triangular” approach to AIDS care was first tried in a prison in
their hometown of Kermanshah and later became recognized as a best practice
model in the Middle East.

The duo
were also featured several years ago in a BBC documentary, “Mohammad and
the Matchmaker,” which showed how the doctors became closely involved in
their patients’ lives and even helped introduce HIV-positive singles seeking
marriage.

Physicians
for Human Rights helped organize a letter-writing campaign across 80 countries
urging the brothers’ release.

Kamiar
said his brother ended up serving three years and two months in jail, and was
now with their mother at the family’s home in Tehran.

“He is happy since his other political cellmates got released, too,” Alaei
told AFP.

Copyright
© 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

From: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5htbVahi5gAFxXO6XqcKWJO3A6uzA?docId

=CNG.2d8b43d5c0ba134157b858447e0197fd.621

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7 Responses to “HIV Campaigner Freed From Jail”

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