Iranian court to hear West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s appeal

Nazanin and Gabriella drawing together before the arrest

Nazanin and Gabriella drawing together before the arrest - Credit: Archant

The Iranian Revolutionary Court will hear Nazanin’s appeal tomorrow after she was arrested 10 months ago and sentenced to five years in jail

Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year jail sentence in Evin prison in Tehran, but hopes the Iranian authorities will hear her case and relent.

Husband Richard Ratcliffe, an accountant, has attempted to keep pressure on Iran after his wife was arrested at the airport following a family holiday on April 3.

He first lodged the appeal in September, after Nazanin was sentenced by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, in a trial shrouded in secrecy and confusion.

Nazanin was jailed on “secret charges”, although the Iranian media has since reported claims that she was found guilty of attempting to overthrow the regime.

She is still technically employed as an international media charity worker with the Thomson Reuters foundation, which does not operate directly or indirectly in Iran.

Her daughter Gabriella, now two, is staying with her grandparents in Iran after her passport was confiscated, and is allowed to visit her mother approximately once a week.

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Previously hoping that Nazanin would be released for Christmas and her birthday on Boxing Day, Richard is still struggling to obtain a visa to go to Iran.

There is, however, some hope and relief, as Nazanin has been taken out of solitary confinement and is now on a ward with other women, including with human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.

Nazanin was able to welcome visitors, and has regained some of her spirit.

Richard wrote on his blog: “Nazanin was allowed a family visit, and a phone call to me on Christmas Day to share with her what we were doing on Christmas morning.

“Nazanin told me she had been allowed a surprise visit for the occasion – and all her brother and sisters had been allowed to see her.

“They were able to bring in a cake, and for Gabriella to blow out the candles...

“I asked Gabriella afterwards if mummy was happy with her cake.

“‘No,’ she said, ‘Mummy cried.’

He added: “There was a brief part of the visit without the guards, only CCTV, when tears caught up with many of the family.

“They were also able to bring in two presents – one for Nazanin, and one for Gabriella.

Gabriella proudly told me that mummy had given her a present....

“Via Skype, she showed off her storybook in English. It is the first present Gabriella has received from mummy in a long time.”

Richard does not yet know when the appeal verdict will be released.