Zeinab Jalalian, a Kurdish political prisoner serving a life sentence, has contracted the coronavirus at Qarchak Prison in Varamin, her father told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network.
The Ministry of Intelligence has not allowed her to be taken to a hospital outside the prison.
Ali Jalalian said, “On Tuesday night, June 2, Zeinab Jalalian was transferred to the prison’s medical centre due to severe shortness of breath and after being examined and tested by a doctor, she was diagnosed with Clovid-19.”
According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, Zainab Jalalian told her family in a phone call that she, along with several other prisoners with coronavirus, is being held in a separate room in the quarantine ward of Qarchak Prison and still had a high fever and shortness of breath.
The prison’s doctor told Ms. Jalalian that the virus had spread to her lungs and that they were trying to control the infection through medication.
In early May, the Kurdish political prisoner was transferred from Khoy Prison to Qarchak Prison, miles away from her hometown and family.
This is while the Prisons Organization is obligated to transfer prisoners to the nearest prison where their families live.
Iranian prisoners and human rights organizations have warned of overcrowded, unhygienic and unsanitary conditions in Qarchak Prison that put the prisoners at greater risk of COVID-19 infections.
Before contracting the coronavirus, Ms Jalalian suffered from pre-existing medical conditions. The United Nations and human rights organizations have repeatedly called for her release.
Zeinab Jalalian has served 13 consecutive years of her life sentence in Khoy Prison.
In a call for urgent action on June 15, 2018, Amnesty International said Zeinab Jalalian is being subjected to torture by blocking her access to medical care.
According to Amnesty International, “Zeynab Jalalian also has heart, intestinal, and kidney problems, as well as an oral thrush condition that has caused painful white bumps on her tongue and interferes with her ability to eat and swallow. She is at risk of losing her eyesight in prison as she is being denied surgery for a worsening eye condition called pterygium, which is impairing her vision and causing her severe discomfort.”
“She has repeatedly asked the prison authorities to take her to a hospital outside the prison for specialized testing and treatment for her health problems but the authorities have either rejected outright her requests or have accepted them on the condition that she make videotaped “confessions”. The international human rights watchdog added.