Iran Human RightsKurdish Political Prisoner Moved Repeatedly, Catches Coronavirus

Kurdish Political Prisoner Moved Repeatedly, Catches Coronavirus

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By Jubin Katiraie

A Kurdish political prisoner was moved from the Central Prison of Kerman, southern Iran, to the notorious Dieselabad Prison in Kermanshah, western Iran, on September 24.

Zeinab Jalalian spent three months in solitary confinement on Kerman’s quarantine ward following a weird and probably unnecessary trip around several prisons in April and May, which led her to contract coronavirus.

On April 28, Jalalian was moved out of the Prison of Khoy without prior notice, handcuffed and shackled, before being taken to the prisons of Urmia, Kermanshah, the Evin Courthouse, and finally Qarchak Prison, without being given the needed food or water.

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It is not known why she was moved. When her family asked, after turning up at Khoy to find out that she wasn’t there, prison officials said that a new case was being opened against her and she was being transferred to a Tehran prison for questioning.

In Qarchask, she contracted coronavirus but was not given medical care. Instead, they moved her to the quarantine ward in Karman prison, where she went on a hunger strike. Her father, Ali, said that on June 3, she was taken to the prison for severe breathing problems and tested positive for coronavirus, but prison authorities refused to transfer her to the hospital.

Jalalian has been in prison for 13 years and is currently suffering from several severe ailments and infections, none of which help when you are recovering from coronavirus. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Pterygium
  • Oral thrush (oral candidiasis)
  • Intestinal and gastric diseases
  • Severe hypertension

This treatment of Jalalian has been going on for a long time. In June 2018, Amnesty International made a call for urgent action over her access to appropriate medical care being stopped.

Amnesty International wrote: “Zeinab Jalalian also has heart, intestinal, and kidney problems, as well as an oral thrush condition that has caused painful white bumps on her tongue and interferes with her ability to eat and swallow. She is at risk of losing her eyesight in prison as she is being denied surgery for a worsening eye condition called pterygium, which is impairing her vision and causing her severe discomfort.”

They continued:  “She has repeatedly asked the prison authorities to take her to a hospital outside the prison for specialized testing and treatment for her health problems but the authorities have either rejected outright her requests or have accepted them on the condition that she makes videotaped ‘confessions’.”

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