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Iran's state TV airs unseen video of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Iranian State TV has aired previously unseen footage of what appears to be the arrest of jailed Iranian-Brit...

Posted: Jan 10, 2019 12:04 PM
Updated: Jan 10, 2019 12:04 PM

Iranian State TV has aired previously unseen footage of what appears to be the arrest of jailed Iranian-British dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Tehran in April 2016.

The approximately minute-long video, which has been edited, shows Zaghari-Ratcliffe being pulled aside by someone off camera at an airport and questioned, according to Mashregh News.

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In the line of questioning a man asks her about her travel intentions and informs her that there is a warrant for her arrest and that she is not permitted to leave the country.

After confirming that she intends to travel to London, the man informs her that he is a "representative of the judiciary office" and that due to the warrant, she is not permitted to leave the country.

"You have to come with us to the investigation office and they will tell you your charges over there," the man tells her.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British charity worker who remains jailed in Iran, was arrested at Tehran airport while attempting to return home to London after visiting family with her daughter Gabriella, who was then 22 months old in April 2016.

The Iranian government accused her of working with organizations allegedly attempting to overthrow the regime. 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, rejects the allegations. In May, Iranian media reported that she was due to face a new trial for "security-related" charges.

Hunger strike

Earlier in January, Zaghari-Ratcliffe announced she will start a hunger strike on January 14 after being refused access to medical help, according to a letter published by an Iranian rights group.

The letter was jointly signed by Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi, a fellow inmate and prominent rights activist who will also be taking part in the hunger strike. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has verified the letter.

"The right to have access to a physician, medicine and treatment, is a fundamental right contained in national and international declarations and regulations. Unfortunately, we have been deprived of it despite repeated requests and appeals to the relevant authorities," the letter states.

"Therefore, in protest to this illegal, inhuman and unlawful behavior, and to express our concerns for our health and survival at this denial of specialist treatment, despite taking daily medicines, we will go on hunger strike from January 14, 2019 to January 16, 2019."

The UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, last week blamed Iran for Zaghari-Ratcliffe's decision to go on hunger strike.

In a tweet Hunt reiterated his belief in Zaghari-Ratcliffe's innocence and insisted she be allowed to return home. "How can the Iranian authorities allow an innocent mother to feel she needs to resort to this, simply for justice and access to medical care?" he asked in the post.

Rights groups have also condemned the alleged treatment of the women, which has led to the planned protest.

"It's utterly disgraceful that the Iranian authorities are heaping more punishment on Nazanin and Narges like this," Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK's Director, said in a statement.

"Rather than subjecting Nazanin and Narges to reprisals for their hunger strike, the Iranian authorities must release these prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally."

In August last year, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was treated in hospital after suffering panic attacks, her husband said. The attacks came just days after she returned to prison after she was temporarily released to spend time with her family and four-year-old daughter, Gabriella.

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