Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Iran Convicts UAlbany Student In Secret Trials

I've previously reported on this story, but word comes now that Iran has convicted the Alaei Brothers in a sham secret trial. The two men, a University at Albany public health doctoral student, Dr. Kamiar Alaei, a prominent AIDS expert from Iran, and his brother Arash Alaei, were sentenced to three years and six years, respectively for plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime.
Physicians for Human Rights spokesman Jonathan Hutson told the Times Union Tuesday the doctors don't know all the charges on which they were convicted.

The doctors were interrogated for six months and possibly coerced, Hutson said in an e-mail. The prosecutor then "paraded them through a one-day trial on New Year's Eve without informing them of all the charges against them, and without disclosing all the evidence," Hutson wrote.

"If due process means anything, it means the right to know the charges, hear the evidence, and face the accuser," he wrote. "The doctors did not receive a fair trial, either by standards of international human rights law, or even by Iran's penal code."
Iran, Free the Doctors, notes that this is likely Iran's way of testing the Obama Administration.
In the wake of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, Iran has signaled that the espionage trial of two world-renowned AIDS doctors is a bellwether for the future of US-Iranian relations.

The Washington Post reported on Jan. 19 that an unnamed Iranian senior counter-intelligence official warned the new Obama administration that the case of Dr. Kamiar Alaei and Dr. Arash Alaei exemplifies a “full fledged intelligence war” between Iran and the US.

“If Kamiar and Arash are engaged in any war, it’s the battle against HIV/AIDS,” said Sarah Kalloch, Director of Outreach for Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). “They traveled the world to share the Iranian model of HIV prevention, and to learn from other countries about innovations in infectious disease treatment. Treating AIDS is not a crime—it is good medicine.
Expect to see more tests in coming days. Iran could care less about human rights, due process, or other freedoms that we in the US take for granted. This is a naked display of power and a test to see how Obama responds.

Amnesty International doesn't have a current statement out, only that the trial occurred on December 31 and didn't meet international standards. I'm sure they'll have something to say now that the verdict has been rendered.

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