Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: 'shocking' that another criminal case may be opened
‘If new charges are levelled against Nazanin, they’re likely to be as baseless as the original ones’ - Kerry Moscogiuri
Responding to reports that the jailed UK-Iranian dual-national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be facing fresh charges in Iran, Kerry Moscogiuri, Amnesty International UK’s Campaigns Director, said:
“Coming against the backdrop of her blatantly unfair trial and sentence, this is yet another really worrying development.
“It is, frankly, shocking that the Iranian authorities are apparently opening another criminal case against Nazanin instead of releasing her from prison.
“If new charges are levelled against Nazanin, they’re likely to be as baseless as the original ones.
“Nazanin is a charity worker not a criminal, and the Iranian authorities should finally do the right thing - release her and allow her to come back to Britain with her young daughter.”
Arrested during family visit more than two years ago
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 39, a British-Iranian dual-national, was arrested at a Tehran airport on 3 April 2016 prior to boarding a plane back to the UK after a regular family visit to the country with her infant daughter Gabriella. After being detained for over five months, initially in solitary confinement for 45 days without access to a lawyer, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2016 after being convicted of “membership of an illegal group” in a grossly unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
The conviction was in connection with her employment at Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity organisation, as well as her past work as an administrative assistant with BBC Media Action. The sentence was upheld on appeal last year and her subsequent request for judicial review denied.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe is currently held in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where her requests for periods of temporary release - for which she has been eligible - have been repeatedly denied.
She is suffering from numerous health problems - including severe arm, neck and back pain. There have also been serious concerns over her mental state. Amnesty has designated her a prisoner of conscience targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association, and has called on the Iranian authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally.