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Kurdish political prisoner Zeynab Jalalian in ‘critical condition’ in Iran, says watchdog

  2021-05-14  | 
 Zhyan News Network
File Photo - Kurdish political prisoner Zeynab Jalalian who has been in prison since 2008. Graphic by Zhyan News Network
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Kurdish political prisoner Zeynab Jalalian is in dire health condition and is being denied access to medical treatment nearly a year after she contracted the COVID-19 outbreak in prison, a human rights watchdog said on Friday (May 14).

She was sentenced to death in 2009 by the Islamic Revolutionary Court on charges of “acting against national security” and “Enmity against God” through “membership in the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) after spending several months in solitary confinement and enduring severe physical and mental torture, she was to death penalty.

In 2011, an appellate court shifted her death penalty to life sentence. She was later transferred to Khoy Prison in West Azerbaijan province.

“After contracting Covid-19, Zeynab was in a bad physical condition and suffered from shortness of breath and a severe cough due to a lung infection,” a close source to Jalalian told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).

“Currently, she is in a dire condition due to the opposition of the Ministry of Intelligence to her treatment in hospital and her deprivation from having access to medical services.” 

The source described the conditions imposes on the prisoner “an attempt to gradually kill her in prison,” reported the KHRN. 

“She has been under constant pressure by security interrogators since her unlawful transfer to Yazd Prison on 9 November 2020, and her ordinary rights as a prisoner have been revoked,” the source said. 

“She only has the right to contact her father by phone from time to time and has to speak in Persian and very briefly. She is also denied of her rights to visits.”

Doctors at the prison’s infirmary told Jalalian that she should to be sent to hospital outside the prison as soon as possible citing lack of medical facilities in the prison, but Iran’s intelligence ministry has rejected to transfer her, according to the KHRN. 

In February 2021. Amnesty International said Iranian intelligence ministry’s officers tortured Jalalian by “deliberately denying her of health care to coerce her into providing a videotaped confession.”

In jail, Jalalian has developed a number of diseases, including asthma and impaired vision, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).

In May 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called on Iran  to immediately release Jalalian and to take all necessary measures to compensate the damages imposed on her without delay, and in accordance with international standards. 

(Zhyan English)