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Iran releases jailed HIV/AIDS doctor, family says

By the CNN Wire Staff
Dr. Kamiar Alaei, poses at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington, DC, June 16, 2011.
Dr. Kamiar Alaei, poses at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington, DC, June 16, 2011.
  • Arash Alaei was arrested, along with his brother, in 2008
  • Kamiar Alaei was freed last year
  • He posts on Facebook that Arash was released and thanks their supporters
  • The brothers are recognized for changing how HIV, AIDS are treated in Iran
  • Iran
  • HIV and AIDS

(CNN) -- Arash Alaei, a pioneering HIV and AIDS doctor, has been released from an Iranian prison, his family said Sunday.

Both he and his brother, Kamiar Alaei, who is also a doctor, were arrested in 2008. They were charged with "communication with an enemy government" and for trying to "overthrow the government," according to Kamiar.

Kamiar Alaei served most of a three-year sentence and was released in October 2010. Since then, he has fought for his brother's freedom.

"My dearest friends, colleagues and family thank you so much for your tireless help and support. I am pleased to share our happiness that my brother got released today. I am very happy that other prisoners got released, too and now their parents, family members and friends got reunion after a while. What a lovely day!" he wrote on his Facebook page.

A post attributed to the Alaei family said that Arash was released after spending 1,160 days in prison.

The brothers have been called pioneers for their community-based approach to HIV and AIDS in Iran.

Since opening a hometown clinic in 1999, the men raised awareness about HIV, dispelling myths about the virus and treating people who are shunned because of it. They also reached out to their neighbors in Afghanistan and Tajikistan and worked with medical universities in Europe and the United States.

Earlier this month, Kamiar told CNN being free without his brother was the worst feeling and that sometimes he wished he was in and that his brother was out.

"I have to be clear," he said then. "All our work was focused on health and science. It was never about politics. When we were arrested, I was shocked and I thought they must have the wrong people."