Zeinab Jalalian

In 2008, Kurdish women’s rights defender Zeinab Jalalian was sentenced to death for "enmity against God" (moharebeh) by Kermanshah Revolutionary Court in a trial that lasted a few minutes.

Ms Jalalian had been arrested on International Women's Day 2008. The arrest was followed by legal proceedings that did not comply with international standards for a fair trial, and the issuing of a death sentence, which in 2011 was commuted to life imprisonment.

In a petition filed on 5 March 2015, REDRESS and Justice for Iran urged the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to intervene based on evidence demonstrating, among other aspects, the torture and ill-treatment suffered by Ms Jalalian.

At its seventy-fifth session, held from 18-27 April 2016, the WGAD adopted the opinion that there was “no legal basis” to justify the arrest and detention of Zeinab Jalalian and that her right to a fair trial has been violated.

In its opinion, released on 26 May 2016, the WGAD order Iran to immediately release and provide compensation to Ms Jalalian –  believed to be the only female political prisoner currently sentenced to life imprisonment in Iran. The UN body also expresses “grave concern” that her mental and physical integrity may be at risk of “irreparable harm”.

Ms Jalalian has been detained for eight years. The Islamic Republic of Iran is yet to respond to the WGAD opinion.


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