Zainab Jalalian Approaches 17th Year of Incarceration: Ongoing Medical Deprivation and Pressurized Interrogations Persist

Zainab Jalalian Approaches 17th Year of Incarceration: Ongoing Medical Deprivation and Pressurized Interrogations Persist

15:21 - 5 February 2024


Hengaw: Monday, February 5, 2024

As Zainab Jalalian nears her 17th year of imprisonment, encompassing a staggering 5,823 days, she continues to be denied essential medical treatment and access to medication due to recurrent interrogations under duress. She holds the unfortunate distinction of being the longest-serving female political prisoner in Iran.

According to a report received by the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, despite Zainab Jalalian facing serious threats to her eyesight and enduring health issues such as oral thrush, asthma, kidney, and digestive problems, she is still denied access to medical services, a consequence of opposition from prison authorities.

Zainab Jalalian has endured over three years of exile in Yazd prison without legal justification. Throughout this time, the prison has failed to adhere to the fundamental principle of segregating crimes, thereby depriving her of basic rights, including leaves and face-to-face visits with her family.

The latest information on the situation of this long-term political prisoner reveals that, during a recent period, she was subjected to continuous interrogations while handcuffed and bound by multiple agents of the Intelligence Department in Yazd.

During interrogations, Zainab Jalalian faced threats, compelling her to "express remorse"; a refusal would result in perpetual deprivation of rights she has yet to receive.

Enduring both mental and physical torment, Zainab has been arbitrarily transferred between various prisons, including Khoy, Evin, Kermanshah, Qarchak Varamin, Kerman, and Yazd, without clear justification.

She experienced two instances of the COVID-19 infection during her imprisonment, yet was denied sick leave and any medical assistance.

Throughout the past 16 years, Zainab Jalalian's family has faced relentless pressure to remain silent about her situation. Despite this, they steadfastly rejected security institutions' demands for an interview against the political movements of Kurdistan.

In the winter of 2022, Zainab Jalalian's family, including her mother Guzel Hajizadeh and brothers Pasha, Ebrahim, and Yusuf Jalalian, faced arrest after her mother released a video seeking help for Zainab's situation. Following the video's dissemination, they were detained in Maku for a day and night, ultimately being released when Guzel Hajizadeh lost consciousness in the detention center.

Zainab Jalalian's arrest occurred on February 26, 2008, on the route from Kamyaran to Kermanshah. In December 2008, the first branch of the Kermanshah Revolutionary Court, led by Judge Moradi, sentenced her to one year of imprisonment for illegal departure from the country and to death for "Muharebe"—waging war against God through her affiliation with the Free Life Party of Kurdistan.

The Supreme Court approved Zainab Jalalian's death sentence in 2009, but in November 2011, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with a reduction.

Born in 1982 in Dim Qeshlaq-e Olya village of Maku city, Zainab Jalalian, a Kurdish political prisoner, has been incarcerated since 2008 without the right to leave.