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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘has coronavirus’ say family amid call for PM to step in

PUBLISHED: 18:12 29 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:40 01 March 2020

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in prison since 2016. Picture: Family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in prison since 2016. Picture: Family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

PA Wire/PA Images

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family believe she has contracted coronavirus in Iran’s Evin prison.

On Friday, the West Hampstead woman's husband Richard wrote of his concern that the virus had made it into the prison, and after Nazanin spoke to family on Saturday, he confirmed he "would be surprised if she doesn't" have the virus based on her symptoms.

In the last week according to her family Nazanin has had a "strange cold", with a severe sore throat, cold sweats, a high temperature and extreme fatigue.

Richard said: ""The prison is avoiding confirming whether Nazanin has coronavirus - but I would be surprised if she doesn't. There are enough symptoms, and the authorities are just too reluctant to see."

"A lack of transparency can cost lives - this is true in so many aspects of our case as four years of game playing have shown."

He also called on the Prime Minister to honour the diplomatic protection given to Nazanin and step in to protect her and demand she and others held in Evin ar tested for the virus and then treated appropriately.

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According to her family, Nazanin has said: "There is the feeling of being stuck somewhere, with no way out. We have no choice but to endure what comes. We are stuck, and it is scary."

"I can't believe this is now happening. And even with this they still they won't let us go. They just keep away. It makes my heart sore. Please take me home."

Richard continued: "What price a hostage? Both sides playing a waiting game - Iran waiting to see if they get their money next month. The UK waiting to see if Iran will release Nazanin at the end of her sentence or carry out the threat of that second court case.

"Meanwhile the wind still blows on us, and now it brings with it coronavirus - and a hope that Nazanin still has enough resilience in her immune system."

Despite the Iranian regime having not confirmed any cases of coronavirus in Evin, NGOs including the Centre for Human Rights in Iran believe the infection has spread into the prison.

The Free Nazanin Campaign reported that basic cleaning supplies such as masks and bleach were now again available on Nazanin's ward, but that there remain no medical supplies for treatment.

Nazanin has been held as a political prisoner since 2016 and her continued detention has been condemned as "state hostage-taking" by politicians including local MP Tulip Siddiq.

Her incarceration has been connected to an ongoing dispute over money the UK government owes Iran relating to arms deals in the 1970s.

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