“The Kurdish political prisoner Zeynab Jalalian was diagnosed with COVID-19 at Qarchak Prison.”, Ali Jalalian, Zeynab Jalalian’s father, told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).

According to Jalalian’s father, Zeynab Jalalian was transferred to the prison’s medical centre on the night of Tuesday, June 4 due to severe shortness of breath. However, prison officials refused to transfer her to the hospital on the orders of the Ministry of Intelligence. Yesterday in a phone call with her family, Zeynab Jalalian told them that she and several other prisoners suffering from the coronavirus were being held in a separate room in the quarantine ward of the prison.

She was reportedly still suffering from a high fever and shortness of breath due to infection in her lungs which the prison’s doctor was trying to control through medication. Ali Jalalian expressed his deep concern over his daughter’s infection with the coronavirus and asked for her transfer to a hospital outside the prison for advanced tests and treatment. He had previously warned about the deterioration of his daughter’s physical health and the risk of contracting the coronavirus following the sudden transfer of Zeynab from Khoy Prison to Qarchak Prison. 

Zeynab Jalalian was suddenly transferred to the Qarchak Prison on Wednesday, Apr 29, 2020. The political prisoner is currently being held in the quarantine ward of Qarchak prison. Mr Jalalian said that his daughter had been unaware of the reason for her transfer to the quarantine of this prison and the prison officials had not provided any reason for this transfer. He also added that last week he had received a text message which informed him of a new case being filed against his daughter at Branch 101 of the Tehran Criminal Court but she was unaware of the issue.

Zeynab Jalalian, born in 1982, is a Kurdish activist from a small village called Deim Qeshlaq located around Maku in Eastern Azerbaijan province of Iran. She was arrested in February 2007 by the forces of Kermanshah Intelligence Bureau on charges of membership in PJAK. She was interrogated at Intelligence Detention Centre in Kermanshah for a month while being seriously tortured both mentally and physically. She was then transferred to Kermanshah Youth Rehabilitation Centre.

In 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an official request to the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Zeynab Jalalian immediately and take all necessary measures to compensate her without delay in accordance with the international regulations. In a vote issued by the International Working Group, Zeynab Jalalian’s deprivation of liberty was described an arbitrary measure and contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Iran is obliged to prosecute those officials responsible for violating the rights of the Kurdish political activist.