Iranian-Kurdish Political Prisoner’s Health Suffers Amid Ongoing Denial of Medical Treatment
After nearly a decade behind bars, prisoner of conscience Zeinab Jalalian has developed intestinal problems, yet the authorities continue to deny her specialist treatment, her father told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“She is suffering from intestinal issues, but there is no specialist in the prison to help her and her requests to get checked by doctors outside prison have been denied,” Ali Jalalian told CHRI on September 12, 2017.
The Kurdish political activist has been held in Khoi Prison in West Azerbaijan Province since 2008, serving a life sentence for her alleged membership in the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (known as PJAK and PEJAK), an armed Kurdish group based in the country’s northwest.
“I have told the authorities many times that we are prepared to leave a property deed as a security deposit, but they still refuse to grant her medical furlough without reason,” he added.
Furlough, temporary leave typically granted to prisoners in Iran for a variety of familial, holiday, and medical reasons, is routinely denied to political prisoners as a form of additional punishment.
“The prison authorities and the judiciary have a duty to ensure prisoners receive adequate medical care, and there is some concern that if Ms. Jalalian is not treated, she could lose sight in both eyes,” a source close to her family told CHRI.
In addition to intestinal problems, Zeinab Jalalian, 36, has been suffering from eye and tongue infections.
“She is only being given eye drops, but that’s not a real treatment,” the source added. “She has always complained of vision problems and could end up like Alireza Rajaee if untreated.”
Reformist journalist Alireza Rajaee was forced to get an eye and part of his face removed due to sinus cancer that was left untreated while he was held as a political prisoner in Evin Prison.
Prisoners have the right to receive a medical checkup at least once a month and to be transferred to the hospital for emergencies under articles 102 and 103 of Iran’s State Prisons Organization Regulations.
“Zeinab has been afflicted with pterygium of the eye [surfer’s eye] and its spread is causing problems with her sight,” one of her lawyers, Amir Salar Davoodi, told CHRI in June 2016. “She has also been suffering from septic boils on her tongue.”
“The law offers prisoners certain rights and naturally these rights should apply to Zeinab as well,” he continued. “For years Zeinab, [her co-counsel] Mr. Mohammad Sharif and I have made several furlough requests. Her family has also been prepared to pay a bond. But so far the authorities have refused.”
Arrested in 2007, Jalalian was sentenced to death in 2009 on the charge of “waging war against the state.” The Supreme Court reduced the sentence to life imprisonment in 2011.