Saturday, June 18, 2011

When doctors struggle and win.

Dr Kamiar Alaei

For years, Dr. Kamiar Alaei and his brother, Dr. Arash Alaei, fought the spread of AIDS in their native Iran. The clinics and anonymous needle exchanges they set up became a model for prevention around the world.

But in 2008, the Iranian government arrested the Alaei brothers and subjected them to months of solitary confinement. In a one-day trial, they were convicted of “communicating with an enemy government’’ — an apparent reference to their participation in international public health conferences supported by the United States.

“No prison walls can break the spirit of a human being with a cause,’’ Kamiar Alaei said.

“We thought we were forgotten,’’ Alaei said.

Freed Iranian Doctor Kamiar Alaei thanks Physicians for Human Rights among others for pushing for his release from Iranian prison.

Dr. Arash Alaei

 Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei, known for putting issues related to HIV/AIDS on Iran’s national health care agenda, are winners of the 2011 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights.

"We did nothing wrong. We are doctors. We heal people," Alaei said.

"I struggle every day," he said, his soft voice dropping to a whisper. "When I sleep, I go back to prison in my mind."

Doctor released from Iranian prison: "I struggle every day"

Freed Iranian Doctor Kamiar Alaei thanks Physicians for Human Rights among others for pushing for his release from Iranian prison.

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