February 1, 2023

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Two doctor brothers are providing medical support, advice to Iranian protesters — thousands …

The Current15:42Doctors helping injured Iran protesters remotely

Doctors Kamiar and Arash Alaei may not be allowed back into Iran, but the two brothers are supporting recent protests in the country another way: by providing telecare from their homes in the United States.

“I think this is the minimum thing we can do,” Kamiar told The Current‘s Matt Galloway. “It’s kind of comforting that we can do something minimal for our own people, and they appreciate that.”

Iranian protests are in their fourth week, sparked by the Sept. 16 death of Mahsi Amini. Iran’s morality police initially detained the 22-year-old, allegedly for wearing her headscarf too loosely. She died while in hospital.

Her family says her body showed bruises and other signs of beating after she was detained, but Iran’s government insists Amini was not mistreated. An Iranian coroner’s report also denied Amini had died due to blows to the head and limbs, and linked her death to pre-existing medical conditions.

Kamiar, who developed the HIV/AIDS training program Global Health in the Middle East and Central Asia with Arash, says a lot of protestors have been hit by “not life-threatening gunshots” and batons around their faces and necks. 

Their injuries are significant enough to warrant medical attention — but Kamiar says they can’t turn to local hospitals because of the risk of being arrested for participating in protests.

“[The government] gave a lot of warnings to doctors, to hospitals, not to admit them,” he said. “And if they admit them, they have to report them — and a lot of doctors, they don’t want to do that.”

In the long run, I think either they have to change or they will be changed, and there is no other final solution.-Dr. Kamiar Alaei

Kamiar says trust is a key reason why many protestors in Iran are turning toward the brothers, who themselves spent time in Tehran’s Evin prison.

“This is unfortunate, that [protesters] couldn’t trust local people, but they could trust people who are overseas,” he said.

Nonetheless, the brothers are more than happy to provide the medical help, along with tips about how to document their injuries in order to hold the government accountable.

“[The government] wanted to reduce the number of people who get killed because they think if they get injured, it’s hard to be trackable,” he said. “So we wanted to document them and make them accountable in front of international bodies.”

An optimistic future

Although it’s unclear how many Iranians have been killed or arrested in the protests so far, Oslo-based Iran Human Rights estimates at least 201 people in Iran have been killed.

Kamiar says it makes him “cry” seeing videos of security forces beating and shoving protesters in Iran.

Still, he sees reasons to be “very optimistic about the future of these demonstrations” in the countless youth leading them.

“In the past, traditionally, there were more leaders or senior people who belonged to political parties [leading] the demonstration,” he said. “But this is completely opposite.”

“Now, we have teenagers who are taking the lead and motivated and mobilized … regardless of what political party they belong to.”

WATCH: How Mahsa Amini art is amplifying calls for change

Mahsa Amini art amplifies calls for change in Iran

2 days ago

Duration 4:15

The arrest and death of Mahsa Amini in Iran have fuelled artists around the world, using their work to echo and amplify the demand for change.

The reactions of those in power also gives him hope that these protests will end differently than previous ones.

“They now started [on] TV saying, ‘Oh, we want to have a dialogue, we want to come up with some solutions,” he said. “So that shows now they realize this is different.”

“In [the] short run, they may make it harsh. But in the long run, I think either they have to change or they will be changed, and there is no other final solution.”


Produced by Ines Colabrese.

Original News : https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/two-doctor-brothers-are-providing-medical-support-advice-to-iranian-protesters-thousands-of-kilometres-away-1.6616653?cmp=rss

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