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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Iran. The Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case. Appeal rejected

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, sentenced to one year for “sowing hostile propaganda against Iran,” will most likely have to serve her sentence. An Iranian court rejected the appeal of the lawyers of a British and Iranian citizen.


“The appellate court approved the lower court’s verdict without a hearing,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe Hojat Kermani’s lawyer told the Iranian website Emtedad. In 2016, a woman was tried for involvement in a conspiracy against Iran. She was then sentenced to five years in prison, but the last year of the sentence – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – was changed to electronic surveillance.

An act of grace

In March of this year, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released from house arrest in Iran under an act of pardon signed by the Supreme Leader, also known as the Supreme Muslim Lawyer, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But the woman heard it another objection and she was brought to trial again. In April, she was sentenced to a year in prison for “sowing hostile propaganda against Iran.”

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British MP Tulip Siddiq tweeted that she had spoken with the convict’s husband, Richard. “One year in prison and one year of travel ban have been kept without a trial,” wrote Siddiq and called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene in the case.

Ineffective appeals

Zaghari-Ratcliffe – Iranian and British national – was an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation before her arrest. He is currently staying at his parents’ home in Tehran.

“My spouse is concerned about going to jail again,” her husband Richard told BBC News. He added that Nazanin is in a very bad mental state, which could be felt during her conversations with her daughter. The girl has been in Great Britain since 2019, under the care of her father. Until she was arrested, her mother hardly parted with her.

The British side consistently calls for the release of the woman, also at the highest level. London believes that the woman should be sent back to Great Britain also for health reasons. An independent medical report commissioned by Reuters found the woman was going through severe depression and had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Efforts to free her through diplomatic channels have so far been unsuccessful. In March 2019, the then head of British diplomacy, Jeremy Hunt, granted the prisoner diplomatic protection, but the Iranian authorities refused to recognize her dual citizenship. In this situation, Zaghari-Ratcliffe could not count on consular assistance.

Husband and daughter of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Archival photo Reuters

Johnson’s conversation with Rowhani

This spring, Prime Minister Johnson discussed the matter with then-Iranian President Hassan Rowhani. He called on him to allow the woman to leave Iran and be reunited with her family.

The Iranian media then reported that during a conversation with Johnson on Wednesday, Rowhani raised the issue of a possible return of around £ 400 million by London. Britain was paid this money by the then deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for tanks that were never delivered to Iran due to the Islamic revolution. The issue of the possible release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe is treated by Tehran as a bargaining coin in negotiations with London – emphasized the British media.

Main photo source: Reuters

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