British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been told she will face a new trial in Iran, four years after her arrest. She was brought before a revolutionary court in the country’s capital Tehran on Tuesday morning, Iranian state media said.
Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 while travelling to visit her parents with her young British-born daughter, Gabriella.
The dual citizen was sentenced to five years in prison for spying charges, which she has always denied.
The UK Foreign Office said in a statement: “Iran bringing new charges against NazaninZaghari-Ratcliffe is indefensible and unacceptable. We have been consistently clear that she must not be returned to prison.”
Earlier this year, she was given temporary leave from prison because of the coronavirus outbreak and has been living at her parents’ house with an ankle tag.
Before her arrest, Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe lived in London with her husband Richard.
Her MP, Tulip Siddiq, said she had spoken to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe. “I’ve been in touch with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and can confirm that she was taken to court this morning and told she will face another trial on Sunday,” she said.
“I know many people are concerned about her welfare and I’ll keep everyone updated when we have more information.
The MP added: “The last four years have been excruciating for her husband Richard and her daughter Gabriella, who is growing up without a mother.
“The United Nations has recognised Nazanin’s imprisonment as arbitrary and unlawful, and any further court case is clearly unacceptable.”
Mr. Ratcliffe has previously expressed fears that she could face a second court case when her sentence ends.
He said she and other dual nationals are being held hostage because Iran wants the UK to pay a decades-old debt over an arms deal that was never fulfilled.
The human rights group, Amnesty International, said it appeared Iranian authorities were “playing cruel political games with Nazanin”.
“Nazanin has already been convicted once after a deeply unfair trial, and there should be no question of her being put through that ordeal again,” the charity’s UK director Kate Allen said.
“As a matter of absolute urgency the UK government should make fresh representations on Nazanin’s behalf, seeking to have any suggestion of a second trial removed.”
Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family and the UK government have 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. (Source: BBC)