Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe held in Iran loses her Supreme Court appeal

Nazanin with Gabriella, celebrating her first birthday. Gabriella turned two while living with her I

Nazanin with Gabriella, celebrating her first birthday. Gabriella turned two while living with her Iranian grandparents. - Credit: Archant

The husband of West Hampstead mum Nazanin has urged our government to publicly deny that she is a spy and proclaim her innocence, after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against her five-year sentence.

Nazanin, 38, learnt the devastating news from her family when they visited her in prison this weekend.

The dual national, who led international media programmes at charity Thomson Reuters, has still not been told the precise nature of the charges against her.

On April 3, marking the one-year anniversary of Nazanin’s capture, the Iranian judiciary’s news agency accused her of spying for the government through her work for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Husband Richard Ratcliffe of Fortune Green Road is calling for the government to publicly call for Nazanin’s release and make a clear statement in support of her innocence.

Nazanin has been denied a meeting with Iran’s British ambassador as the country does not recognise dual nationality.

Her daughter, Gabriella, now two, is living with her grandparents in Iran.

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Richard said: “Now it is time for the Government to say Nazanin is innocent.

“She was a mum on holiday, who works for a development charity in London, whose crime seems to be that it gets funding from the UK government. That is not espionage, that is not attempting to overthrow a regime, and it is not working against national security.”

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, met with Tobias Ellwood, Foreign Office minister for the Middle East last week.

She said: “I was clear in my view that Nazanin cannot be abandoned and left to serve the rest of her sentence, which is based on secretive charges.

“I am now actively considering bringing a Bill to Parliament that would enshrine in British law the rights of dual nationals who are detained abroad.”

Richard told the Ham&High that while Mr Ellwood is “sincere in his concern”, he believes foreign office policy needs to change.

He said: “It has been a year and they have not ever said she is innocent of these crazy allegations, have not said that the legal process does not meet any adequate standards (as the UN has said) and that she should be released.

“They are too soft it seems to me - some things should be said plainly…

“The Revolutionary Guard know that what they are doing is wrong - it’s why they keep it all secret - so I think the government should state more clearly it is unacceptable for a British citizen to be used in this way.”