Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: New trial postponed in Iran

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Free Nazneen campaign

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Richard Ratcliffe campaigned for years to release Nazneen

Her husband has said that Nazneen Jaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran, has not been taken to court to face new charges.

Iranian state media had said that he would face fresh charges four years after he was convicted.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said: “For Nazneen, the uncertainty is deeply painful, as we await the next step.

“It remains a cat and mouse game between governments, living life with us as a piece of fodder.”

The Foreign Ministry reacted to the news of the moratorium, calling on Iran to leave Mrs. Zagari-Ratcliffe permanently.

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Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said it was “a crapshoot” she had ever faced with a new court date.

Ms Allen said there was already a “deeply unfair trial”, which led to her being “improperly convicted”.

He said: “It appears that Iranian officials are playing a brutal political game with Nazneen. The situation has been going on for a long time. Nazneen has continued to suffer in Iran away from her husband and young daughter.

“It has been four and a half years for the UK government to secure its unconditional release and has failed to do so. Nazneen’s release must be given full priority.

“As an urgency, ministers now need to step up their efforts to bring Nazneen home in time for Christmas and will provide a clear plan for how they will do so.”

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Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in Tehran in April 2016. She went to visit her parents with her young British-origin daughter Gabriella, who is now six years old.

A double national court was sentenced to five years in prison for conspiring against the Iranian government, which she denies, and no official charges have ever been made public.

Gabriella has now returned to the UK.

Earlier this year, Mrs. Zagahri-Ratcliffe was temporarily discharged from prison due to an outbreak of coronovirus and was living with ankle tags in her parents’ home at the ankle.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “We welcome the boycott of this baseless court hearing, and call for the permanent release of Nazneen from Iran to return to his family in Britain.”

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Media captionNazneen Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband describes how his daughter Gabriella is working without her mother

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said he was “horrified” about the expected court appearance and had suffered the latest in a series of panic attacks.

Elaborating on the process surrounding his appearance in Sunday’s court, he said: “Nazneen’s lawyer went to court this morning after being appointed. When he went there, he was told by the court office that there would be no hearing today Will not happen.

“They were given no indication that the trial would not take place until this point. We have not been given a rescheduled date for the court hearing. Perhaps it is too early to understand why today’s adjournment occurred, or what it means. “

‘Psychological torture’

He said that he believed that the adjournment to attend the hearing could be accompanied by efforts by the British Embassy.

Mr Ratcliffe said: “The Foreign Office was requesting to participate in the trial of Nazneen.

“Iranian authorities were clearly reluctant to say yes, although called for to be mindful of the legal consequences of saying no in the context of diplomatic protection.

“The current uncertainty of this period, on the back of all these over the last four years, is a kind of psychological torture.”

He believes his wife and other dual citizens are being held hostage because Iran wants Britain to pay back a decade-old debt on an arms deal that was never completed.

Britain owes Iran about £ 400m for Sardar tanks ordered by the former Shah of Iran, which were never distributed due to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The UK government says it will refund the money, but cannot do so until a legal path is found against Iran due to international sanctions that currently make payments impossible.