Kurdish political prisoner Zeynab Jalalian is spending her 16th Newroz (also Nowruz in Persian) behind the bars in Yazd Prison.
Jalalian is the only woman political prisoner with a life sentence in Iran.
In addition to the numerous tortures she has endured over the years, the political prisoner has been denied the right to temporary leave even for medical treatment.
Since her arrest in Kermanshah, western Iran, to the present day, Jalalian has been repeatedly moved, illegally and violently, between various prisons in the country.
Zeynab Jalalian, who was arrested in Kermanshah on 26 February 2008, is currently being held in Yazd Prison.
Without any legal reason, she was transferred from Khoy Prison (the closest prison to her family residing in Maku) to Yazd Prison on 9 November 2020.
Approximately six months prior to her transfer, on 29 April 2020, security forces moved her to Qarchak Prison in Varamin, northern Iran, without providing any legal justification.
Two months later, she was transferred to Kerman Prison and held in solitary confinement for a period of time while she was infected with COVID-19 and was on a hunger strike, demanding her return to Khoy Prison.
On 22 September 2022, security forces moved the political prisoner from Kerman Prison to Kermanshah Prison.
The authorities at Kermanshah Women’s Prison had initially refused to accept her to the prison due to the injuries she had suffered in her wrists and feet after she was pulled on the ground by security forces in handcuffs and fetters.
Later, Jalalian was infected with COVID-19 for the second time in Yazd prison. Despite her deteriorating physical condition, she was kept in a room for prisoners with addictions, with very poor hygienic conditions and without access to proper medical care.
After suffering from COVID-19 twice, she developed pulmonary problems and asthma due to a lack of proper medical care.
These diseases, which have been confirmed by the prison doctor, in addition to her previous illnesses such as kidney and digestive problems, pterygium, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), visual weakness, dental infection, etc. that she developed during her imprisonment and were caused by numerous tortures and harsh prison conditions, have led to further deterioration of Jalalian’s physical condition and health.
Jalalian has not only failed to receive family visits in the past two and a half years due to the movement between various prisons, the distance between Yazd and her family’s home city of Maku, and restrictions imposed by security agencies, but also her rights to make phone calls has been limited to once a week and only with her parents.
Agents of the Ministry of Intelligence in Yazd prison warned the political prisoner that the spread of any information regarding her condition, through her and her family to the media, would exacerbate the pressures on her and lead to her transfer to another prison.
In March 2022, security forces detained Jalalian’s parents and three brothers in Maku after a video of her mother, Gozal Hajizadeh, was published, in which she spoke about her daughter’s condition in prison.
Although the family members were released 24 hours later after Hajizadeh lost consciousness under detention, the intelligence ministry warned them not to spread information and speak to human rights organisations and the media about Jalalian’s condition.
Security forces also asked the family to speak against the political prisoner’s activities and Kurdish opposition parties in a video interview, which they strongly rejected.
According to Jalalian’s lawyers, under a new Islamic Penal Code passed in 2013, their client’s continued imprisonment is against the law and she should be released.