Ratcliffe Says his Wife’s Detention is a Bargaining Chip for Iran

The nation press services
2020-12-03 | Since 3 Month

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has accused Tehran of practicing hostage diplomacy, saying that his wife has become a bargaining chip between the UK and Iran.

Ratcliffe revealed that Iran is seeking to block his wife’s official release in March 2021. Authorities in Tehran are charging Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual national, with a new wave of accusations to justify holding her in detention for additional time.

In early November, she appeared before a judge to defend herself against “charges of promoting anti-regime propaganda,” but the trial was adjourned before Zaghari-Ratcliffe could present her defense and without a clear scheduling of the next hearing.

Ratcliffe clarified that the newly pressed charges against his wife remain the same as the ones under which she was sentenced to five years in prison in 2016.

The charge is officially a new charge, but it is the same file that was used against her last time. Thus, the risk is double.

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“We have already seen other cases where a new indictment is filed midway, especially when the case is suddenly postponed, like what had happened to us at the last hearing. So we will only know what they have condemned her with when they tell us,” he added.

Ratcliffe, who has been leading a fierce campaign for his wife's release for four years, considered that the purpose of the new case is “to prevent her from being released at the end of her sentence next March, or at least to threaten her with extended time.”

The judicial process is just a cover to provide a legal framework for taking hostages, and to justify detaining her for as long as they want, he said.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit.

She was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment.

Gabrielle, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter, was reunited with her father in the UK was freed on October 10, 2019.

As for Zaghari-Ratcliffe, she received a conditioned release from Evin prison in March 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic but remains under house arrest.

Iranian authorities have told her she will return to Evin prison following the hearings, which have been delayed.

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