Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, who holds dual Iranian and British citizenship, was arrested in 2016 while visiting her family in Tehran on charges of plotting against the Islamic regime, which she has always denied. In April of this year, a month after serving five years in prison, she was sentenced to another year in prison for “spreading propaganda against the regime”.
The family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency of the same name, told the BBC on Saturday that no court hearing had taken place and that their lawyer had been informed of the outcome.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe spent last year on parole at her parents’ home in Tehran, but fears have been raised that she may now be sent back to prison.
Her husband, Richard Radcliffe, told the BBC that the woman was “shocked at the thought of going back to prison”. “I don’t think it will happen immediately, but it is just a matter of time. It is being used as a bargaining chip,” he added. Without seeing the woman in person since his arrest in 2016, Richard Radcliffe has had their daughter Gabriella, who was with her mother in Tehran when she was arrested, with him in the UK since 2019.
According to the BBC, MEP Tulip Siddik, who represents the family constituency in north London, warned that Zaghari-Ratcliffe “could now be sent back to prison at any time”. He asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take urgent steps to secure his release.
Iranian authorities allege that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was plotting to overthrow the government in Tehran and the IRGC accused her of leading a “hostile network linked to abroad”, which she has always denied.
Zaghari-Radcliffe is one of several Western passport holders held by Iran in what human rights groups denounce as a hostage-taking policy aimed at winning concessions from foreign powers. Her husband claimed she was held hostage by a long-term debt of 400 million pounds ($550 million) that Britain owed Iran under an unfulfilled deal.
The BBC reports that in March, then-British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Tehran of using Zaghari-Ratcliffe in a “cat-and-mouse game” to gain diplomatic advantage, and said the regime’s treatment of him was “equal torture”.
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