Iranian Doctors' Conviction Could Damage Public Health
March 4, 2009
The Dec. 31 conviction of two pioneering Iranian HIV/AIDS doctors could have a chilling effect on scholarly exchanges, research, and disease prevention, experts say. In June, brothers Kamiar and Arash Alaei were arrested and later tried on charges of plotting to overthrow the regime. Their sentences of three and six years in prison seem partly to stem from their AIDS work, human rights advocates say.
"It will be harder for Iranians to share their experiences, in, for example, harm reduction and HIV prevention, with other countries in the region," said Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS program at Human Rights Watch.
The conviction could signal a shift on HIV/AIDS; a warning against ties with the West; or a crackdown on activists ahead of June presidential elections, advocates say. Some campaigners remain hopeful that Iran's government will respond to the international outcry from health professionals and release the brothers.
02.14.2009; Vol. 373; No. 9663: P. 533; Kristin Elisabeth Solberg
Editorial Calls for Release of Iranian Physicians, Urges President to Allow Dialogue to Further HIV Prevention Efforts
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.