The former Cellmate of the Kurdish political prisoner Zeynab Jalalian, has passed away suspiciously in her home. She was reportedly under pressure and threatened by the Kermanshah Intelligence Office due to her contacts with Zeynab Jalalian, Kermanshah Forensic Medicine has declared the cause of death as suicide.

Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has been informed that on Oct 14, 2017, the body of Zahra Azade Saresht, a former prisoner in Kermanshah Youth Detention Centre, who was cellmate with Zeynab Jalalian for four years and a close friend of her, was found at her home in Kermanshah.

The former prisoner, who had previously been convicted of ordinary crimes and sentenced to four years of imprisonment was in close contact with Zeynab Jalalian during the length of her imprisonment at the Kermanshah Youth Detention Centre and the women’s section of Dizel Abad Prison in Kermanshah. When released from prison in 2015, she visited Zeynab in Khoy Prison.

“During her four years in the prison on murder charges, Zahra was a really impressed with Zeynab who was her close friend. Despite the fact that the Prison Security of Prison Intelligence Section prevented any connection between prisoners and Zaynab, Zahra always communicated with Zeynab and she did not pay attention to the threats of the prison authorities.”, a mutual friend of Zeynab Jalalian and Zahra Azad Saresht, who requested anonymity for security reasons told KHRN.

“After being released from prison due to the leniency of her complainants who received blood money in return, her telephone conversations with Zeynab continued until the fall of 2015 when she was succeeded to visit Zeynab for a few minutes in Khoy Prison. She was arrested by the security forces after returning to Kermanshah at the entrance to Kermanshah at Qazanchi checkpoint and she was interrogated for several hours regarding her contact with Zeynab.”, the source added.

“Over the last few years, Zahra had been threatened several times by telephone calls from the Intelligence Office and was fired from her jobs several times. The Intelligence agents had suggested to her that, if she cooperated with this security agency and conducted a television interview (to deny the news published by human rights organisations regarding the condition of Zeinab’s illness), the pressures on her would be stopped and even offered her financial support. But she never accepted their offers.”, the source continued.

The source said that recently the pressure was so high that Zahra changed her SIM card time to time. After a few days, the Intelligence officers contacted her and threatened her again. Following the persistence of these pressures on Oct 14, 2017, the young woman’s body was found at her home by her relatives, and after being transferred to a forensic medicine, the cause of her death announced suicide.

“Five days before her death, she had contacted Zeynab Jalalian, and during this call, there was no evidence of her decision to commit suicide.”, the source concluded.