Iran’s decision to bring new charges against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is illegal and shows that she is being held hostage, her husband Richard Ratcliffe has said.
He called on the UK government to do everything possible to protect her, including demanding that UK authorities be allowed to attend her trial on Sunday.
Iranian court officials told Zaghari-Ratcliffe in a hearing Tuesday that she was facing new charges. The dual Anglo-Iranian national has already served four years of a five-year sentence and is being held under house arrest at her parents’ home in Tehran.
Imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is arrested at Imam Khomeini Airport as she tries to return to Britain after a family vacation with her daughter, Gabriella.
Start of the dissemination campaign
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s health deteriorates after spending several days on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.
The call fails
Boris Johnson intervenes
Boris Johnson, then foreign minister, told a special parliamentary committee: “When we look at what [she] she was just teaching journalism to people. “Four days after her remarks, Zaghari-Ratcliffe is sent to court, where her statement is cited as evidence against her. Her employers, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, deny she ever trained journalists, and her family claim she was in Iran on vacation. Johnson is ultimately forced to apologize for the “distress and anguish” his comments cause to the family.
Her husband reveals that Zaghari-Ratcliffe has fears for her health after the discovery of lumps in her breasts that required an ultrasound, and that she was now “on the verge of a nervous breakdown”.
Hunt meets her husband
She obtains a provisional release of three days in prison.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is taking the unusual step of granting him diplomatic protection – a move that turns his case from a consular issue to a one-to-one dispute.
The UK is updating its travel advice for dual British and Iranian nationals, for the first time advising against all travel to Iran. The council also urges Iranian nationals living in the UK to exercise caution if they decide to travel to Iran.
Hunger strike in London
Richard Ratcliffe joins his wife in a new hunger strike campaign. He fasted outside the Iranian Embassy in London as she began a third hunger strike in prison.
End of the hunger strike
Zaghari-Ratcliffe ends his hunger strike with breakfast. Her husband also ends his strike in front of the embassy.
Transferred to the mental health service
According to her husband, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was transferred from Evin prison to the psychiatric ward at Imam Khomeini Hospital, where Iranian Revolutionary Guards prevented relatives from contacting her.
Girl returns to London
Gabriella, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s five-year-old daughter, who has lived with her grandparents in Tehran and has regularly visited her mother in prison for the past three years, is returning to London to start school.
Amid the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, she is temporarily released from prison, but will have to wear an ankle brace and not move more than 300 meters from her parents’ home.
Iranian state media report that she will appear in court to face new, unspecified charges.
In a statement, Richard Ratcliffe said: “It has become increasingly clear in recent months that Nazanin is a hostage, held as leverage against British debt. It is important that the British government do everything to protect her and the others as Iran’s hostage diplomacy continues to escalate.
“It starts with the British Embassy insisting they are able to attend Nazanin’s trial on Sunday and that the UK’s diplomatic protection is treated with respect.
“While we have felt close to release in recent months, Nazanin was taken to the Revolutionary Court yesterday for a second reopened court case. His trial will take place on Sunday. The case is illegal under Iranian law, as is the fact that Nazanin was not already released in March. “