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Judiciary Says Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe “Should Thank the Islamic Republic”

May 12, 2021
2 min read
Judiciary Says Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe “Should Thank the Islamic Republic”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe should be grateful to the Islamic Republic for its "benevolence" and "humanitarian actions,” the spokesman for the judiciary has said.

The British-Iranian charity worker has been held in Iran for over five years. She spent the first four  in prison, and has been under house arrest since spring 2020. Authorities brought a new charge against her before she completed her previous sentence, which she has appealed.

"Ms. Nazanin Zaghari had a previous conviction and her previous conviction has ended," spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmaeili said on Tuesday, May 11. “She should thank the Islamic Republic of Iran for letting her serve part of her sentence outside of prison and in her own residence because of coronavirus.”

The comments failed to address recent accounts of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ill-treatment by the Iranain authorities, which her family, supporters and activists have all described as torture. 

Esmaili said she had been released on bail and that there were no restrictions on her movement. "It reflects the benevolence and humanitarian nature of the judiciary that a national security convict can spend time outside prison during the coronavirus outbreak and at her residence, supervised by an electronic device."

Following the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran in 2020, some prisoners were released and were put under house arrest, Zaghari-Ratcliffe being one of them. She was sent from Evin Prison to her parents' house and was monitored by an electronic tag. She was not allowed to go further than 300 meters from the house.

Esmaeili said she was currently at home and not wearing a tag, and that she was able to make contact with family and friends both inside and outside the country. "We are waiting for the new court to rule on her new charges,” he added.

Nazanin was arrested at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport in April 2016 while preparing to return to Britain. She was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2016 by a court presided over by Judge Abolghasem Salavati on charges of "attempting to overthrow the regime."

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe, based in the UK with the couple’s young daughter, has run an active, persistent campaign for her release and to raise awareness of her case, including going on hunger strike.

Ratcliffe, the Free Nazanin campaign and other activists, along with legal experts and a UK minister, have called for the Islamic Republic to stop using her detention as political leverage to gain access to blocked funds in Britain linked to a historic deal for military tanks.

In early May, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said it was “difficult to argue” against claims that the way Nazanin had been treated amounted to torture.

Related coverage: 

Revolutionary Court Sentences Nazanin to Another Year Behind Bars

The British-Iranian Hostages Iran Labels as Terrorists

Nazanin's Husband: Hostage-Taking by Iran Must End

Judiciary Secretary Claims Hostages Want to Stay in Iranian Prisons



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