Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe sentenced to jail AGAIN – Iran refuses to release UK aid worker

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe sentenced to another year in jail

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Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested while taking her infant daughter to see her parents back in 2016. She was later jailed over allegations of plotting to overthrow Iran’s government, an accusation she continued to deny.

She was released to her parents’ home last March due to the coronavirus pandemic and put under house arrest.

Last month her lawyer confirmed her electronic tag – which limited her to 300m from her Tehran home – has been “cast off”.

When she had her ankle tag removed last month, her lawyer confirmed Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been charged with “propaganda against the establishment”.

Now, an Iranian Revolutionary court has sentenced her to a one-year jail term and she is banned from leaving the country for a year.

Her lawyer, Hojjat Kermani told Emtedad news website: “Nazanin Zaghari was sentenced to one year in prison and one year ban from leaving the country on charges of propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told the BBC the court’s decision was a bad sign and “clearly a negotiating tactic” by the Iranian authorities.

It is believed she has not yet been summoned to prison at this point.

Her lawyer is planning to appeal, the BBC said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Obviously we will have to study the detail of what the Iranian authorities are saying.

“I don’t think it is right at all that Nazanin should be sentenced to any more time in jail.

“I think it is wrong that she is there in the first place and we will be working very hard to secure her release from Iran, her ability to return to her family here in the UK, just as we work for all our dual national cases in Iran.

“The Government will not stop, we will redouble our efforts, and we are working with our American friends on this issue as well.”

Since her arrest in 2016, a number of foreign secretaries – including Boris Johnson – tried diplomatic means to free her but all failed.

Following news her ankle tag was removed last month, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed the update.

He tweeted: “We welcome the removal of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle tag, but Iran’s continued treatment of her is intolerable.

“She must be allowed to return to the UK as soon as possible to be reunited with her family.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office also said in a statement: “The Foreign Secretary and FCDO remain in close contact with Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family, and continue to provide our support.

“We do not accept Iran detaining dual British nationals as diplomatic leverage.

“The regime must end its arbitrary detention of all dual British nationals.

“We continue to do everything we can to secure the release of arbitrarily detained dual British nationals so that they can be reunited with their loved ones.”

In March, her husband said the family were urgently seeking clarity on whether she would be a free woman.

He told Sky News: “We’re obviously sitting very anxiously here, and she’s sitting anxiously waiting in Iran.”

Mr Ratcliffe said his daughter had been using a calendar to count days to when her mother would hopefully be freed from her sentence.

He said: “She’s got a calendar that she crosses off each day.

“She’s in that sense counting down and I think probably still at this point treating it like an advent calendar, so the days will come off and then the magic delivery will happen.

“It is shocking that what started off as a mum and a baby on holiday could be allowed to last for five years.

“There’s no ambiguity in that, that’s just staggering.”

More to follow…

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