The elderly mother of prominent Kurdish political prisoner in Iran, Zeynab Jalalian, was detained on Monday and interrogated for several hours for calling on the international community to pressure Iran to release her daughter who has been in prison for 14 years, convicted on political charges.
Jalalian’s 70-year-old mother, Guzel Hajizadeh, was detained after security forces raided her home in Maku, West Azerbaijan province, for posting a widely-circulated video on social media where she called on international human rights organization to work towards the release of her daughter.
Hajizadeh was interrogated for several hours regarding the content of the video and the people involved in recording it, according to Kurdistan Human Rights Network, a Paris-based NGO that monitors human rights violations in the Kurdish areas of western Iran.
Despite being released, the family residence remains under heavy security surveillance. Hajizadeh was also denied the right to speak to the media or to publish any other content related to the continuous detention of Jalalian.
Jalalian is just one of the hundreds of political prisoners being held in conditions in Iranian prisons that violate human rights. Last year alone, at least 500 Kurdish individuals were arrested in Iran, while 11 Kurdish prisoners died in unclear circumstances in prisons, according to a UN report from last month. The report also noted an increase in executions of Kurdish prisoners, compared to other ethnicities, with over 50 being recorded in 2021.
This is not the first time a member of Jalalian’s family is detained for speaking against her imprisonment.
In November 2020, her father Ali Jalalian, was arrested by ministry of intelligence officials for speaking to foreign human rights organizations and media.
In June 2020, Jalalian’s father told the rights watchdog that his daughter was being denied adequate medical care despite being in critical condition after contracting COVID-19 at Qarchak prison, southeast of Tehran.
Over the course of her 14-year imprisonment, Jalalian has been transferred across various prisons in the country, enduring inhumane conditions, torture, and contracting several viruses as a result of being prevented access to medical services.
She is currently being held at a prison in Yazd where she was transferred to in November 2020 and has since had a number of her rights restricted. Jalalian is entitled to few, short phone calls to her father and is not allowed to speak in Kurdish, only in Persian.
UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ordered Iran to release Jalalian and provide compensation for her unjust detention but despite this, she continues to be held prisoner.
The political prisoner was born in the village of Dem Gheshlaq in Iran’s western Azerbaijan province. She had been involved in cultural and women rights activities in Kurdish areas of both Iran and Iraq.
She was reportedly tortured at the detention facility of the Ministry of Intelligence after refusing to confess to Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) membership and beg for forgiveness on camera. Initially sentenced to death by the revolutionary court in Kermanshah for “enmity against God” in 2008, her sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in 2011 by the court of appeal.
PJAK is an Iranian Kurdish armed opposition group. While generally considered the Iranian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the organization claims they are merely linked by a shared ideology.
Source » rudaw