Female Kurdish Prisoner’s Death Sentence Overturned
The Supreme Court has reduced the death sentence of Zeinab Jalalian, a Kurdish prisoner of conscience, to life in prison. In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran Jalalian’s lawyer Mohammad Sharif said that prison authorities had previously informed Jalalian of the change.
“Two weeks ago, when Zeinab called me, she said that she had been summoned by the Kermanshah Dizel Abad Prison’s Social Services unit, and that they have informed her of her life in prison sentence. As [informing inmates about their sentence] should have been carried out by the Sentence Implementation Unit and not by Social Services, I sent my colleague to Kermanshah to pursue the issue. Upon his review of the case, we realized that fortunately, her execution has been reduced to life in prison through a clemency order by the Supreme Leader.”
In 2007, Jalalian was arrested and in December 2009, sentenced to death on the charge of membership in Kurdistan’s PJAK group; an appeals court later upheld her death sentence. After an appeals court upheld Jalalian’s death sentence, Sharif accepted her case and filed a clemency request with the Supreme Court. She was initially also charged with armed operations, a charge she denied.
“Her charges were ‘connection to Kurdistan’s PJAK group’ and ‘armed operations.’ Of course it was proven that she was not involved in any armed activities and this is why the Supreme Court overturned her sentence. Zeinab herself confirmed her contacts with PJAK, but not participating in armed operations,” said Sharif.
In March 2010, authorities transferred Jalalian from Kermanshah Prison to Ward 209 of Evin Prison. There were later rumors about her imminent execution. Several sources also reported Jalalian was suffering from physical and psychological pressure to produce forced televised confessions.
Sharif spoke with the Campaign about Jalalian’s torture allegations while in Evin. “I will make no comments about this question. My visits with my client have been in the presence of [security] forces and she did not have complete freedom in talking to me. However, she did not tell me anything about this.”
Currently, Jalalian is being held in Kermanshah’s Dizel Abad Prison, where she was transferred to after spending five months in Evin Prison.
“Next week I will go to Kermanshah and I hope to be able to see Zeinab. If she agrees, I will request her transfer to a prison closer to her home and family, such as the Orumiyeh Prison, because her family lives too far away from Kermanshah Prison right now,” Sharif added.
In a 2009 letter addressed to human rights organizations, Jalalian wrote: “I am a 27-year-old Kurdish girl who has been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts. At this time I am ill due to severe torture. I have not been allowed a lawyer, and I was sentenced to death in less than a few minutes. They did not even allow me to defend myself. They told me ‘Because you are an enemy of God, you are not entitled to defend yourself.”