Commentary & Opinion
Jailed Iranian Physicians, Journalist Examples of Human Rights Violations, Letter to Editor Says
April 15, 2009
The detention and trial of journalist Roxana Saberi, as well as the recent sentencing of Iranian brothers and HIV/AIDS physicians Kamiar and Arash Alaei, are a "tragic example of human rights violations that have become the norm in Iran," Olga Khazan -- program assistant with Physicians for Human Rights -- writes in a Washington Post letter to the editor. She adds that Kamiar and Arash Alaei were sentenced to "three and six years in prison, respectively, for allegedly 'communicating with enemy governments' because of their participation in global health conferences." According to Khazan, "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime has condemned countless Iranian journalists, activists and scientists on illegitimate charges without producing evidence to back them up." She continues, "This crackdown on international exchange and academic freedom undermines the efforts of those who seek to shine light on Iranian society and serve the Iranian people." According to Khazan, Ahmadinejad wrote a congratulatory letter to President Obama in which Ahmadinejad "asked him 'to use every chance to serve, to spread love and kindness, to eradicate oppression (and) to do justice.'" Ahmadinejad "should begin by spreading justice in his own country" and release innocent citizens like the Alaei brothers and Saberi, Khazan writes, concluding, "Whether reporting the news or treating devastating diseases, each deserves the opportunity to serve" (Khazan, Washington Post, 4/15).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.