'Light at the end of the tunnel' for jailed Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
PUBLISHED: 10:58 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:58 11 December 2017
Jailed mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'can see some light' at the end of the tunnel after she avoided being dragged back to court following a visit by foreign secretary Boris Johnson to her family in Iran.
Speaking on the phone from her Iranian prison, Nazanin told husband Richard Ratcliffe: “Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I can see some light today, more than before. Having no court suddenly. It feels like God is protecting me.”
“The court, the imprisonment emerged all of a sudden out of the blue, so I hope it can disappear out of the blue also - if there is enough will,” she added.
Nazanin, of West Hampstead, was due to appear in court on Sunday before Judge Salavati, the same man who presided over her trial in April last year when the 38-year-old was sentenced to five years in prison for spying.
A second trial on the same charge could see her sentence doubled. Nazanin’s family say she has not been told her case has been cancelled.
The latest development comes after UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson visited Nazanin’s parents and three-year-old daughter Gabriella during a trip to Tehran at the weekend.
During the 45 minute visit on Saturday the family discussed Nazanin’s physical and mental health as well as the impact on Gabriella of growing up with neither her mum nor dad.
Mr Johnson stressed he wanted to solve Nazanin’s case and promised the family he would do his best for the charity worker ahead of his meeting with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on Sunday.
Nazanin’s father told Mr Johnson his only care was getting his daughter home to his family who have since hailed the visit as making a difference to the court case.
Gabriella and her grandmother visited Nazanin in Evin prison yesterday afternoon and report that she was buoyed by news of the foreign secretary’s visit.
Richard, who has expressed hope his wife would return by Christmas, said: “This weekend we had our first ripple of freedom. Who knows what lies ahead, the past 20 months have had plenty of false turns – but my hope is that the ripple in the days ahead might become a full change of tide.
“A month ago I was cursing the foreign secretary. It seems a long time. But he promised when he met that he would do his best for Nazanin and to date he has been as good as his word. He did get to Iran. He did get there before her court case. And that did make a difference.
“Of course one swallow doesn’t make a Christmas – Nazanin is not yet on a plane. But it is good to have at least a swallow in the sky,” he added.