British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been temporarily released from prison in Iran because of the coronavirus outbreak, although she will be required to wear an ankle tag and remain within 300m (984ft) of her parents’ home in Tehran.
Iran on Tuesday said, it had temporarily released about 85,000 prisoners who had tested negative for the virus and had posted bail in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
There had been reports that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be released earlier this month, but she was kept in detention.
“The issue now is to make it permanent,” her husband Richard Ratcliffe said. “It is hard to relax just yet,” he added.
The 41-year-old from London was jailed for five years in 2016 after being convicted of espionage charges that she has always denied. The UK has also insisted she is innocent.
She was arrested at Tehran airport after visiting her family on holiday. She insists the visit was to introduce her daughter Gabriella to her relatives.
“I am relieved that Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was today temporarily released into the care of her family in Iran,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We urge the regime to ensure she receives any necessary medical care,” he added.
In a statement released through the Free Nazanin campaign, Ms.Zaghari-Ratcliffe said she was “so happy to be out”.
“Even with the ankle tag, I am so happy,” she said. “Being out is so much better than being in – if you knew what hell this place is. It is mental. Let us hope it will be the beginning of coming home.”
Earlier this year, Mr. Ratcliffe urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be tougher with Iran. He said there had been “no breakthrough” in efforts to secure her permanent release.
Mr. Johnson has previously said he would leave “no stone unturned” to help free Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
The charity worker remains on medication for depression and on beta blockers – medicines which slow down the heart – for the panic attacks she’s been suffering in jail, her husband said at the time.
Her family and the UK government has always maintained her innocence and she has been given diplomatic protection by the Foreign Office – meaning the case is treated as a formal, legal dispute between Britain and Iran.
While he was foreign secretary, Mr. Johnson mistakenly said that Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in Iran training journalists when she was arrested.
She has always maintained she was in Iran visiting relatives. (Source: BBC)