Amnesty International Urgent Action: Jailed Kurdish Woman at risk of going blindPublished by International Liberty Association on October 23, 2016
Iranian Kurdish woman Zeynab Jalalian, who is serving a life sentence imposed after a grossly unfair trial, is at risk of losing her eyesight in prison. The authorities have continued to deny her the specialized medical treatment she needs for a worsening eye condition, including urgent surgery.
Iranian Kurdish woman Zeynab Jalalian, 34, is at risk of losing her eyesight due to being denied specialized medical care for a worsening eye condition. She also suffers from a yeast infection in her mouth, intestinal and kidney infections, and abnormal uterine bleeding. The authorities have refused to give her access to an eye specialist and to authorize her transfer to a hospital for urgently needed eye surgery and have only given her eye drops. They have also refused her repeated requests for medical leave. According to her lawyer, some of her requests have been rejected outright while others have been accepted on condition that she makes videotaped “confessions”. On one occasion, she says prison authorities told her that she had to have a virginity test before they would allow her to receive medical treatment. Withholding medical treatment resulting in severe pain or suffering in order to force a “confession” amounts to torture under international law.
Zeynab Jalalian is serving a life sentence in Khoy Prison, West Azerbaijan Province, north-west Iran. She was arrested in March 20 08 for her social and political activities in support of Kurdish self-determination and her association with the political wing of the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), a Kurdish opposition group which also has an armed wing. She was held in solitary confinement for eight months without access to a lawyer. She says intelligence officials tortured her including flogging her on the soles of her feet, punching her in the stomach, hitting her head against a wall, and threatening her with rape. She was subsequently sentenced to death on the charge of “enmity against God” (moharebeh). Her trial was unfair and lasted no more than a few minutes. The Revolutionary Court in Kermanshah Province found her guilty of “taking up arms against the state” despite the total absence of any of evidence linking her to the armed activities of PJAK. Noting her “alleged membership in the political wing of PJAK” and her movement between Iran and Iraq, the court speculated that “she may have been involved in terrorist operations but is refraining from telling the truth.” Her death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.
In April 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion, calling on the authorities to release Zeynab Jalalian immediately and accord her an enforceable right to compensation.
Please write immediately in English, Persian, Arabic, French and Spanish or your own language:
1. Urging the Iranian authorities to immediately provide Zeynab Jalalian with the specialized medical care she needs outside prison, including eye surgery, and protect her from further torture and other ill-treatment, including through the denial of adequate medical care;
2. Calling on them to implement the opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which calls for Zeynab Jalalian to be released immediately and accorded an enforceable right to compensation;
3. Urging them to order a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into her allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, bringing to justice anyone found responsible, including those with superior responsibility, in fair trials and without recourse to the death penalty.