Iran opens new trial of British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

The nation press services
2021-03-14 | Since 2 Month

Another trial of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was held on Sunday at Iran's Revolutionary Court, her lawyer said.

"Her trial was held at branch 15 of the Revolutionary court. Her charge is propaganda against the system," Hojjat Kermani told Reuters. "Zaghari-Ratcliffe was fine and calm at the court session".

"The trial was held in a calm atmosphere. The final defence was taken. Legally, the court should announce the verdict in a week but it is up to the judge. I am very hopeful that she will be acquitted."

The lawyer separately told AFP Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is now being prosecuted for "propaganda against the system for having participated in a rally in front of the Iranian embassy in London" in 2009.

The Iranian Judiciary was not immediately available to comment.

Iran released Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe from house arrest last Sunday at the end of her five-year jail sentence, most of it served at the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran.

 

However, she was summoned to court again on a further charge, one which her family fears will lead to her being sent back to prison.

Speaking before the court case, her husband Richard Ratcliffe said the charges were "irrelevant".

"This is not a real court process. This is not a fair trial – it's an act of abuse.

"Nazanin is now pretty stressed. She is extremely twitchy, restless and agitated," he told the BBC.

Mr Ratcliffe also said the British ambassador to Iran had declined to accompany his wife on Sunday.

"I am disappointed that the embassy has declined to accompany Nazanin to the Revolutionary Court," he told the BBC.

"To my mind, it is a missed opportunity to protect her, a missed opportunity to stand up for her as British, and it is not the first. I hope that timidity is not a choice that we come to regret."

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at a Tehran airport in April 2016 and later convicted of plotting to overthrow the country's clerical establishment.

Her family and the foundation, a charity that operates independently of media company Thomson Reuters and its news subsidiary Reuters, deny the charge.

She was released to house arrest last March during the coronavirus pandemic but her movements were restricted and she was barred from leaving the country.

Last Sunday, the Iranian authorities removed her ankle tag, but she could still not leave the country.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab welcomed the removal of the ankle tag but said Iran continued to put Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family through a "cruel and an intolerable ordeal".

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday, said Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be allowed to return home to her family.

Iranian media reported that during the call, Mr Rouhani raised the issue of a £400 million ($557m) historical debt which Tehran says Britain owes the county in capital and interest for a 1970s arms deal with the then-Shah of Iran.



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