Published: Tue, May 22, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces new charge

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces new charge

Mr. Ratcliffe, who has been campaigning for his wife over the past two years, said in the statement that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been allowed a telephone call with the British ambassador to Iran on Sunday, her first phone call with a British diplomat since her arrest.

The 39-year-old, whose husband, Richard, has been leading the fight for her release, has consistently denied all the allegations against her.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested and jailed in 2016, appeared in court on Saturday accused of spreading propaganda against Tehran's hardline Islamist regime.

If she is convicted, the new charges could add another 16 years on her prison sentence. I might only have a slim chance'.

Ratcliffe said his wife denied the new charges against her, but the judge, Abolghassem Salavati, told her she should expect to be convicted.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said it would not provide a running commentary on "every twist and turn" in the case.

'But those cases do not benefit from public discussion'.

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Iran's judiciary brought the new case against Zaghari-Ratcliffe in October for additional charges, based on claims of fresh evidence that appear to include a BBC pay stub and contents of her personal email. I don't want to go there again. I want my daughter back.

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Amnesty International has warned that both her physical and mental health have deteriorated while in prison.

"According to The Free Nazanin Campaign, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe told the judge: "[Gabriella] hasn't seen her father for over two years now".

Nazanin's plight risked being made worse past year after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that she had been "training journalists" during her visit to Iran, which her family denies.

During their conversation, she asked hím to visit, and to issue a diplomatic notice protesting against the charges.

During the hearing she also requested a temporary release, known as a furlough, for Gabriella's birthday next month.

The new charge came despite Theresa May raising her case, along with other British prisoners held in the country, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Her campaign said that in her latest court appearance, she asked the judge for leniency for the sake of her daughter.

'She kisses me so hard. She blows kisses all the way as she goes up the stairs, and everyone stands there watching. "There is a responsibility of the Government, there is a responsibility of the foreign secretary, to protect British citizens".

"The UK Government remains committed to doing everything possible to help secure Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release and alleviate her suffering".

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