Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ahmadinejad Regime Silent While Holding UAlbany Student

A doctoral student from my alma mater remains held by Ahmadinejad's foul regime. The Iranians are holding Kamiar Alaei and his brother, Arash, claiming that they were plotting to topple the Iranian government. The brothers are internationally known AIDS physicians and were arrested in June. Kamiar is enrolled in SUNY Albany's PhD public health program.

Demonstrators held a rally outside the Iranian mission protesting the ongoing detention. Physicians for Human Rights is also protesting the action and have signed a petition demanding their release:
More than 3,200 HIV/AIDS advocates and researchers worldwide have signed a petition requesting that the brothers be released.

According to the Post, the brothers' arrest reflects a trend of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration to detain professionals who are suspected of promoting Western interests. According to Hadi Ghaemi of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a main focus of Ahmadinejad's administration is a "broad crackdown on dissidents of all kinds" and a refusal "to acknowledge that anything of the sort is happening."

An unnamed Iranian lawyer who has been in contact with Physicians for Human Rights said the Alaeis likely were the targets of intelligence and security officials in Iran. Hasan Hadad, deputy general prosecutor of Tehran, in an August statement said the brothers attempted to recruit and train people to topple the Iranian government. Hadad said that the brothers were "involved in organizing gatherings on topics such as AIDS that have received attention from domestic and international" non-governmental organizations, adding that they "acted to recruit individuals to travel abroad with the aim of training them on overthrowing the system. They were well aware of their activities and topics of training, such as velvet revolutions."
The brothers were involved in establishing a well regarded AIDS/HIV clinic program in Iran. The regime was tracking the Alaei brothers because of their close ties to the West.

Larry King didn't bother to raise this question in his puff-piece interview with Ahmadinejad when he had a chance. Iran's record on human rights is abysmal, and King had an opportunity to press the case for these two doctors and did nothing. I guess he wanted to retain access for future interviews?

PHR has a petition to sign demanding the release of the Alaei brothers. For more information, see Iran, Free The

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