In the shadow of the current coronavirus crisis, we are very concerned about the situation of political prisoners in Iran, especially women. At the end of March, 200 women prisoners went on hunger strike in the women’s prison in Urmiye because of the high health risk. In April, 36 prisoners were murdered by the security forces during prison protests for more hygiene measures. In addition, the death penalty is still a common practice in Iran and 13 prisoners were executed in April.
Today our eyes are on the Kurdish activist Zeynab Jalalian. Jalalian has been fighting for women’s rights for years and has been imprisoned in Iran since 2008. She was arrested in summer 2008 in Kirmaşan and sentenced to death in January 2009 for ” hostility to God”. However, protests and a wide public attention prevented her execution.
On 28 April this year, Zeynab Jalalian was transferred from Xoy (Khoy) prison. After that she was believed to have disappeared. Days later it became known that she was transferred blindfolded and with her hands tied to the Qarchak prison in Waramin, south of the Iranian capital. According to suspicions a new criminal case against her is to be opened.
Zeynab Jalalian is seriously ill and belongs to the risk group, despite which the Iranian authorities refuse her access to specialist doctors or medical treatment outside the prison. Amnesty International rates Jalalian’s refusal to receive treatment as a practice “equivalent to torture”.
After years of torture in Iranian prisons and despite the prevention of her execution, Jalalian’s future is still uncertain. The threat of her execution by the Iranian state still exists.
Despite the current coronavirus crisis, it is even more necessary that we as women demand our rights. We must raise our voices against all forms of oppression of women. As women, it is our duty to stand up for each and every woman, because only together can we demand our freedom.
- Zeyneb Jalalian and all political prisoners must be released immediately!
- We demand that all international forces and communities exert pressure on the Iranian state!
- We demand the abolition of the death penalty and the transparency of the case of Zeyneb Jalalian!
Kongra Star Women’s Movement
3rd March 2020