In a strong opinion released on May 26th, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has ordered Iran to immediately release and provide compensation to Kurdish women’s human rights defender Zeinab Jalalian – believed to be the only female political prisoner currently sentenced to life-imprisonment in Iran.
In its opinion, the WGAD finds that Jalalian’s arrest and subsequent detention were arbitrary, that she was subjected to an unfair trial, and that she has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment at the hands of Iranian authorities. The UN body also expresses “grave concern” about Ms. Jalalian’s health and finds that her health has deteriorated so severely during her 8-year detention, that her mental and physical integrity may be at risk of “irreparable harm”.
The opinion from the body of independent human rights experts that investigates cases of arbitrary arrest and detention comes after the filing of a petition on March 5, 2015 by REDRESS and Justice for Iran calling on the WGAD to intervene based on evidence demonstrating, among other aspects, the torture and ill-treatment suffered by Ms. Jalalian. This followed her arrest on International Women’s Day in 2008, which led to legal proceedings that did not comply with international standards for a fair trial, and the issuing of a death sentence, which was later commuted to life-imprisonment.
To access the opinion, please click the picture.