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Free Nazanin: New trial ‘is illegal’ says Richard Ratcliffe in call for UK government to intervene

PUBLISHED: 08:53 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:32 10 September 2020

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reunited with daughter Gabriella. Picture: Free Nazanin Campaign

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reunited with daughter Gabriella. Picture: Free Nazanin Campaign

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces a new trial in Iran on Sunday – and husband Richard has appealed for UK authorities to attend the proceedings, which he said were “illegal” under Iran’s own laws.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Richard Ratcliffe, poses for a picture as he continues his hunger strike outside the  Iranian Embassy on June 28, 2019 in London, England. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen continues her detention in Iran where she has been for three years, on charges of plotting against the Iranian government.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Richard Ratcliffe, poses for a picture as he continues his hunger strike outside the Iranian Embassy on June 28, 2019 in London, England. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen continues her detention in Iran where she has been for three years, on charges of plotting against the Iranian government. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Nazanin was hauled from effective house arrest before the Iranian Revolutionary Court on Tuesday and told by Judge Salavati – who has previously controlled her case – that she will be tried over a second slate of charges this weekend.

Richard Ratcliffe said the new trial was illegal as the file against her contains allegations she has already been convicted of, putting it in breach of Iran’s double jeopardy laws.

He has also called for foreign office staff in Iran to attend Nazanin’s new trial, he said: “Even if the embassy staff are unable to gain access to the courtroom, the act of sitting in the Revolutionary Court Reception in Shariati Street waiting in solidarity on a practical level sends an important signal to the Iranian authorities – that there are consequences for continuing these abusive games, that they need to show some respect.”

This is the first time the second trial has been raised with Nazanin since May 2018, while her most recent lawyer also faces charges related to discussing an extension to Nazanin’s furlough publicly.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Richard Ratcliffe, poses for a picture as he continues his hunger strike outside the  Iranian Embassy on June 28, 2019 in London, England. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen continues her detention in Iran where she has been for three years, on charges of plotting against the Iranian government.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Richard Ratcliffe, poses for a picture as he continues his hunger strike outside the Iranian Embassy on June 28, 2019 in London, England. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen continues her detention in Iran where she has been for three years, on charges of plotting against the Iranian government. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

When taken to the office of Judge Salavati, the ankle tag preventing Nazanin from travelling 300m from her parents’ home was activated, meaning family had to desperately explain the situation to those in charge of the tag.

Richard Ratcliffe added: “We were expecting to be released in the spring when Nazanin came out of Evin, and other Westerners came home, but then we got stuck waiting. Events have escalated in the past week, though Iran has for a while been signalling displeasure.

“Behind closed doors we have been warning the government of the need to protect Nazanin and the others much more publicly, or this ordeal would spiral more.”

Nazanin has served more than four years of a five year sentence imposed after she was convicted of spying offences, which she has always denied.

Local MP Tulip Siddiq called for “an urgent intervention by the UK government” after the news broke, and former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This is hostage diplomacy and Iran needs to know that Britain will not stand for it.”

A foreign office (FCO) spokesperson said: “Iran bringing new charges against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is indefensible and unacceptable. We have been consistently clear that she must not be returned to prison.”

They said the FCO was seeking to attend the trial.


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