Despite the deterioration of the health status of the Kurdish political prisoner known as Zeynab Jalalian, sentenced to life imprisonment at the Khoy Prison, Prison authorities are still denying her access to medical treatment.

A source close to this political prisoner, who did not want to be disclosed his identity for security reasons, told Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) that “the health condition of Zeynab Jalalian is getting worse day by day.” “She has been suffering from health problems such as pterygium (a pinkish, triangular tissue growth on the cornea of the eye) in addition to septic boils on her tongue over the past few years and she is now suffering from a heart condition and severe tooth infection.”, the source added. 

The source further stated that Zeynab Jalalian had gone on medicinal strike in protest to her condition of detention and lack of medicinal facilities has been on medicinal strike, Moreover, she has threatened if no measures are taken to send her to a dentist by next Saturday, she will take other ways to protest to her situation.

According to this source, Jalalian has been on medicinal strike since February 2017 in protest to the authorities’ negligence of her need for medical care in the prison and she has refused to use painkillers to reduce her toothache. Therefore, during these past few months, she has suffered severe dental pain.

“Although health officials has asked for Jalalian’s transfer to a dental centre outside the prison, Khoy prosecutors and the intelligence authorities have refused to comply with this request so far under the pretext of the security nature of Jalalian case” The source said.

]n her last report last March, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights expressed her concern about the health condition of this political prisoner and the lack of medical treatment.

“Zeynab Jalalian has gone on medicinal strike for an unlimited period of time in protest to the deceitful actions of Khoy prison authorities including recording completely inaccurate weekly and monthly health reports in her health check-book as well as providing a false report regarding her access to frequent regular medical examinations for the international and human rights institutions.”, her lawyer stated in this letter.

Jalalian’s lawyer has concluded his open letter by addressing the chief prosecutor Hazrat Ayatollah Montazeri and expressing his serious concern about the health condition of Zeynab Jalalian. “Khoy prison authorities, Khoy security & judicial authorities, authorities of West Azerbaijan and state’s authorities should ensure the mental and physical health of my client. My client’s medicinal strike will continue until the authorities who have recorded inaccurate reports in the faro-mentioned health check-book are identified and prosecuted.”, he concluded.

Zeynab Jalalian, born in 1982. is a Kurdish activist from a small village known as Deim Qeshlaq around Maku in Eastern Azerbaijan province in Iran. She was arrested in February 2007 by the Intelligence Service Forces of Kermanshah on charges of membership in PJAK. She was interrogated by the Kermanshah’s Intelligence Bureau while being seriously tortured both mentally and physically. Then she was transferred to Kermanshah Youth Rehabilitation Centre but she was repeatedly taken back to the Security Detention Centre for further interrogations..

On 3rd December 2008, Jalalian was sentenced to death on accounts of “armed actions against Islamic Republic of Iran and membership in PJAK in addition to possessing and carrying illegal weapons while engaging in acts of propaganda warfare against the Islamic Republic of Iran by Judge Moradi (at the Revolutionary Court of Kermanshah (branch 1)”. This sentence was later affirmed on April 2nd, 2009 by Judge Ali Mohammad Roshani, at the Kermanshah Court of Appeals (branch 4) despite the contest statements prepared by her lawyer.

The Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of this political prisoner on 26 November 2009. She was transferred from Kermanshah Prison to an unknown location before being taken to Evin Prison in Tehran in early March 2010. She was held in ward 209 of Evin Prison for five months but then transferred to Kermanshah Dizelabad Prison again since she refused to accept the authorities’ condition for emancipation from death sentence. She was offered to be emancipated from death sentence if she would do a TV interview. She was at imminent risk of execution after the sentence was confirmed. However, her death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in November 2011.

In November 2014, she was transferred to Khoy prison which is three hours away from her family’s residence. Such distance makes visitations for her relatives, specifically her elderly parents, very challenging. During the past 10 years of her imprisonment, she has been denied of the right to temporary compassionate leave as well as medical treatment outside the prison for her illnesses caused by torture and bad prison conditions.

She has been deprived of the basic rights of every prisoner, such as access to medical services, as well as temporary leave( Furlough), while she held in prison for the past 11 years.