Published: Fri, July 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Jailed British-Iranian aid worker moved to hospital psychiatric ward

Jailed British-Iranian aid worker moved to hospital psychiatric ward

Richard Ratcliffe said in Britain that his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been moved to the mental health ward of Iman Khomeini hospital under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

He says he is "hopeful" this means she will be receiving better treatment and care.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, was arrested in Iran while travelling with the couple's young daughter in April 2016 and has been sentenced to five years in prison after being accused of spying, which she and her family vehemently deny.

Having spent nearly three years away from her family in prison, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has incurred various health issues.

"After all she and her family have been through, the time really has come for the Tehran authorities to bring this to an end, to release her and let her travel back to the United Kingdom with her daughter Gabriella". I hate being played within the guts of a political game.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was moved from Tehran's Evin prison to the psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital in the capital, the Free Nazanin Campaign, which is led by Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard Ratcliffe, said in a statement.

The case has added to long-standing tensions between Tehran and London - a traditional ally and big arms supplier to Iran's arch-enemy Saudi Arabia.

She was not given assurances as to contact with her family and was forced to wear handcuffs in hospital despite demanding otherwise.

The Free Nazanin Campaign said Zaghari-Ratcliffe's father visited the hospital on Tuesday, and confirmed that she is being held there under the control of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). "I just hate it", she said, according to Reuters.

"I am glad her dad has been down there to keep vigil outside".

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"We hope again this is the beginning of the end".

Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University researcher, is serving a 10-year sentence for espionage, and USA national Michael White, 46, was this year also sentenced to 10 years.

In January, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe went on a three-day hunger strike in protest against being denied specialist medical care.

He has continuously said the responsibility for her persisted detention lies with the Progressive Guard.

In a 2017 gaffe, Boris Johnson, Mr Hunt's rival for the post of prime minister, said Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran "teaching people journalism" - despite her family's insistence she was there to visit relatives.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "The government remains extremely concerned about the welfare of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe".

The United Nations, the US Congress and Canadian Parliament have all made requests for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release.

"The foreign minister of Iran, Foreign Minister Zarif said that he'd not discussed with the British a swap between the United Kingdom and Iran over the oil tanker and Nazanin, which are unusual comments but they were played out for a couple of days", Ratcliffe said.

A spokesman said: "We stagger Iran to enable members of the family to discuss over with and check on her care as a matter of urgency".

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