November 13, 2020
A Kurdish political prisoner serving a life sentence has been transferred from Kermanshah Prison to Yazd Prison, despite suffering complications from coronavirus and a decline in her overall health. It is the fourth time she has been transferred in the last six months.
According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, Zeinab Jalalian, who is serving the longest prison term of any female political prisoner in Iran, told her family during a short phone call on November 10 that she was being transferred, and that she had been physically assaulted and kept in harsh conditions.
A source told the human rights group she had not received adequate medical treatment for Covid-19, which, compounded by pre-existing health issues, had led to a deterioration in her condition.
Jalalian contracted coronavirus and asthma while in Qarchak Prison. She also suffers from a degenerative eye condition.
Kurdish women’s rights activist Zeinab Jalalian was born in 1982 and has been in prison since December 2007. After a brief trial, which anti-torture organization REDRESS condemned as unfair, she was sentenced on charges of moharebeh, or “waging war against God,” in 2008 and was originally sentenced to death. The sentence was reduced to a life sentence in 2011.
In March 2015, REDRESS and Justice for Iran submitted a complaint to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, calling for it to intervene on the case and demand a re-trial.
On April 29, 2020, she was transferred without notice from Makou Prison to Qarchak Prison. Two months later, suffering from Covid-19, she requested to return to Khoy Prison where she had been kept before, and went on hunger strike in protest. Eventually, she was transferred to Kerman prison.
Security agents then moved Zeinab Jalalian again on September 22, taking her from Kerman Prison to Kermanshah Prison, although her whereabouts were not made public for two days.
The prisoner’s family lives in West Azerbaijan, so the constant transfers mean it is often impossible for her family to visit her. Yazd Prison is approximately 1,300 from West Azerbaijan, the province where Jalalian’s family is based. Kermanshah is approximately 500 kilometers away, whereas Kerman is a distance of 1,600 kilometers away and Qarchak is over 800 kilometers from the province. Khoy, on the other hand, is a distance of 150 kilometers.