Imprisoned British-Iranian woman to face another trial in Iran

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Tehran, will face a trial for new "security-related"...

Posted: May 28, 2018 4:16 AM
Updated: May 28, 2018 4:16 AM

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Tehran, will face a trial for new "security-related" charges, Iranian media reports.

The 39-year-old was arrested in 2016 and is already serving a five-year sentence for allegedly spying against the Iranian regime.

Earlier this month Zaghari-Ratcliffe appeared in court to face new charges of "spreading propaganda," her husband said.

"She was told by Judge (Abolghassem) Salavati to expect that she will be convicted," husband Richard Ratcliffe said. Ratcliffe has consistently denied the allegations against his wife.

When asked about the new charges, the UK Foreign Office said, "We will continue to approach each case in a way that we judge is most likely to secure the outcome we all want. Therefore, we will not be providing a running commentary on every twist and turn."

The head of Tehran's Revolution Court, Hojatoleslam Musa Ghazanfarabadi, told Iran's Tasnim news agency that Zaghari-Ratcliffe's next court date has not been set.

"The court will convene after she designates a lawyer," he said.

Ghazanfarabadi said the new charges are "security-related," but did not specify beyond that.

Pleading to see her daughter

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has requested a temporary release to visit her daughter Gabriella, whom she has not seen for two years and who will celebrate her fourth birthday next month.

Richard Ratcliffe said the Iranian Foreign Ministry has suggested to the British Embassy in Tehran that the girl write a letter requesting her mother be released for her birthday.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was first detained at Tehran's airport in April 2016 while on her way back to the UK from visiting family with Gabriella, who was then 22 months old.

The Iranian government accused her of working for a UK media network involved in activities against Iran. She was sentenced to five years in jail and her child was placed in the care of her parents.

Her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, rejected the allegations.

The Free Nazanin Campaign, headed by her husband, said last week that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was able to call the British ambassador to Iran for the first time in two years.

A diplomatic rift

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's imprisonment has sparked a diplomatic spat between Britain and Iran.

Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, visited Tehran in December to try to raise Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case with the Iranian government.

The visit came a month after he was forced to apologize for a serious misstep in which he told a parliamentary committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching journalism during her visit to Iran. He later clarified that she had been visiting relatives before she was detained.

The comments apparently led to Zaghari-Ratcliffe being summoned to an unscheduled court hearing, at which Johnson's remarks were cited as proof that she had engaged in "propaganda against the regime."

Johnson later backtracked and apologized for his comments.

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