Iranian Judicial Officials Suggest Kurdish Prisoner Will Get Temporary Leave if She Agrees to Televised “Confession”
Iran’s judicial authorities have hinted that Kurdish prisoner of conscience Zeinab Jalalian could go on furlough if she agreed to a televised confession, according to her lawyer, Mohammad Sharif.
“They don’t want to let her out or if they do, it would be conditional,” Sharif told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “Given the circumstances, I suspect her furlough request would be accepted on the condition that she agrees to a televised interview, or something along that line.”
Furlough, or temporary leave, is typically granted to prison inmates in Iran for medical or special familial reasons. It is routinely denied to political prisoners as a form of additional punishment.
Four previous furlough requests by Jalalian, who is serving a life sentence for alleged membership in a Kurdish separatist group, have been rejected. Jalalian has reportedly been put under intense physical and psychological pressure to confess in front of a camera in the past.
Televised forced “confessions” in politically motivated cases, often extracted under the threat of or actual torture, are a common practice in Iran.
“She has been in prison for eight years—since her arrest at the age of 25,” Sharif told the Campaign. “Naturally as a young woman [who has been in prison for this many years], she is experiencing a lot of problems.”
Sharif added that Jalalian has been suffering from Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye) and has been taking medication for it in Khoi Prison, which is situated about 500 miles northeast of Tehran.
Jalalian was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to death two years later for being a member of the banned Kurdish Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK). Iran’s Supreme Court later reduced her sentence to life imprisonment.
She had also been accused of taking part in armed operations, a charge she has consistently rejected. Several attempts to reduce Jalalian’s life sentence to 15 years in prison have been unsuccessful.