Despair as West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could face a further 16 years in Iran jail hell
PUBLISHED: 13:26 09 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:08 10 October 2017
The husband of a West Hampstead mum jailed in Iran has called on the British Government to take action as his wife was yesterday dragged back into court accused of new charges which could see her trapped in jail for another 16 years.
In April 2016, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, of Fortune Green Road, was seized with her toddler daughter Gabriella at Tehran airport as she returned from a family visit to Iran.
The dual British-Iranian citizen was thrown into solitary confinement and sentenced to three years in prison after a secret trial on charges of plotting against Iranian state. Her daughter Gabriella, now three, had her passport confiscated and is being looked after by her grandparents.
Yesterday, husband Richard revealed that charity worker Nazanin was hauled back to court and told a new case had been opened against her by the Revolutionary Guard.
The new charges accuse her of being a member of organisations plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime, receiving money from foreign organisations and demonstrating outside the Iranian embassy in London.
Nazanin’s parents were forced to pay £6,000 bail to the court to stop her being put back into solitary confinement.
The new charges - which Nazanin denies - come just before she was eligible for early release under Iranian law next month.
Nazanin, who sobbed uncontrollably during the hearing for which she was denied legal representation, said via husband Richard: “Going there to that court, seeing them, and answering the same old questions made me have a heart attack. I nearly passed out. I haven’t physically recovered yet. My legs are still numb. My heartbeat still high.
“I have always been honest with them about what I have done and who I worked for. I was not trying to overthrow the regime. I love my country. It is ridiculous. I have not done anything since I was sentenced. I have just been a prisoner in the corner, enduring quietly. What have they done this for?”
“I am tired, and hopeless. I don’t know why God is doing this to me. It sank inside me what happened in the morning. Today was hell. It feels like I have been sent back further from you. It feels like I have gone backwards.”
Richard called on the British government and the Iranian ambassador to the UK to make public statements condemning the Iranian authorities. He said: “I have told Nazanin that these are just games by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC)- inventing new charges to prevent her early release does not make them look intimidating. It makes them look foolish. They are treating their justice system like a bazaar – making up stories to get a higher price. They are bringing their country to shame.”
“The Iranian Ambassador and the UK government need to stand up, and say they will protect British Iranians. It is not enough just to focus in public on their business deals, and to keep a silent pretence. It looks like heads in the sands.
“Thanks to the Revolutionary Guards’ antics, this is a justice system that can no longer look its victims in the eye, can no longer look itself in the mirror.”
“It is not melodramatic to say what is happening to Nazanin is torture. Look at the impact on her. Justice must be done.”
On Wednesday, Amnesty UK are holdin a vigil in Parliament Sq for Nazanin between 11am and midday. They will be laying out the hundreds of Tulips that have been made by Amnesty supporters throughout the country.