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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from Iranian jail but summoned to court again

Thomson Reuters Foundation staffer Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been released from Iranian jail after a five year prison sentence for plans to overthrow the Iranian government – accusations that she denies. She has spent the last year in house arrest with a tag on her ankle as she was allowed to go into house arrest when the covid spread rapidly in the country. Her lawyer confirmed the release but informed that Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been summoned to court again face another charge.

In a phone call with Iranian Hassan Rouhani British prime minister Boris Johnson said the treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “completely unacceptable”.

He demanded her “immediate release”, as well as that of other British-Iranian dual nationals detained in Iran. A Downing Street spokesperson said: “He said that while the removal of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle monitor was welcome, her continued confinement remains completely unacceptable and she must be allowed to return to her family in the UK.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, is a project manager with the charity Thomson Reuters Foundation. She was arrested at a Tehran airport in April 2016 and later convicted of plotting to overthrow the government. She and also Thomson Reuters Foundation have denied the accusation.

She has an Iranian background but is also a British citizen. She had gone to Iran together with her infant daughter to visit her parents. She was arrested at the airport when she her daughter were on their way home to London after a two week visit. The daughter stayed for long time with the grandparents in Iran but the girl was later allowed to leave the country and live wither her father Richard Ratcliffe who has campaigned campaigned for his wife´s release.


Zaghari-Ratcliffe has served most of her sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison but was was released a year ago during the coronavirus pandemic and kept under house arrest. Her movements were restricted and she was barred from leaving the country.

Authorities removed her ankle tag on March 7, the day when her prison sentence came to an end. Her lawyer Hojjat Kermani told Reuters a hearing for Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s second case has been scheduled on March 14.

“In this case, she is accused of propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s system for participating in a rally in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009 and giving interview to the BBC Persian TV channel at the same time,” Kermani said.

He said he hoped that “this case will be closed at this stage, considering the previous investigation”.


Her husband Richard Ratcliffe told Sky News on Sunday she was “pleased” her ankle tag had been removed but said the news was “mixed” from Iran due to the court summons.

Antonio Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said the foundation was “delighted that her jail term was ended” and that she had told him she was “‘ecstatic’ to be able to sit in a cafe and have a coffee”.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said Iran continued to put her and her family through a “cruel and an intolerable ordeal”.

“She must be released permanently so she can return to her family in the UK. We have relayed to the Iranian authorities in the strongest possible terms that her continued confinement is unacceptable,” Raab said in a statement.


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