Zaghari-Ratcliffe awaits Iran’s decision for her to return to prison


The British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran on sedition charges must wait another day to hear whether her furlough from prison will be extended.

At the end of last month, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said her temporary leave from prison in Iran had been extended to April 18.

The Prosecutors Office in Tehran told the British-Iranian woman’s lawyer on Saturday to come back on Sunday for an update on the situation, according to the Free Nazanin Twitter account.

A spokesperson for the Iranian judiciary said on TV on Friday night that her temporary release from prison had been extended, but provided no further details.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been temporary released from Evin prison in Tehran response to the Covid-19 pandemic but her family have since been left uncertain as to whether the furlough will be extended or not.

Released originally for two weeks with an ankle-tag and limited in her movement to her family’s home, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s leave was due to end on Saturday. It has been extended once before.

“We are waiting on news tomorrow,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told PA Media.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s director, said: “[The news] that Nazanin and her family must wait another day in limbo for a decision is deeply disappointing.

“There should be no question of her being sent back to Evin Prison – not in a few weeks’ time, not ever. Nazanin is a prisoner of conscience, convicted after a deeply unfair trial, and she should never have been behind bars at all.

“It is time for Nazanin to come home. We’re urging the Iranian authorities to do the right thing tomorrow and free Nazanin.”

Commenting on the situation when his wife was first released, Ratcliffe said: “My feelings today have been all of a mix – pleased at the happiness for Nazanin and [their daughter]Gabriella, but fear this is a new drawn-out game of chess.

“The issue now is to make it permanent and bring Nazanin home. It is one feeling to walk out of prison. It is completely different to walk back in. No-one should be asked to go and be a hostage again. So we are watching carefully.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport in April 2016 having travelled to Iran to show her then 22-month-old daughter, Gabriella, to her parents. She was sentenced to five years in prison over allegations of “plotting to topple the Iranian government”.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a charity project manager, has been afforded diplomatic protection by the UK government, which says she is innocent and that Iran’s treatment of her failed to meet its obligations under international law. (Source: The Guardian)