PHOTO: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter Gabrielle
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an Anglo-Iranian charity worker imprisoned in Iran in April, has been given a five-year sentence, according to her husband.
Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was sentenced on secret charges by Judge Salavati, known for his harsh punishments, in the Revolutionary Court. He learned of the development when she called him from prison.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an employee of Thomson Reuters’ charity branch, was seized by the Revolutionary Guards as she visited relatives in Tehran. Her two-year-old daughter, whose passport was seized, is with her grandparents in the Iranian capital.
The news came a day after Iran and the UK announced the appointment of ambassadors. Relations between the two countries were suspended after a crowd stormed the British Embassy in Tehran in November 2011.
Richard Ratcliffe said:
I told [Nazanin] she has nothing to apologise for. Her head will always be high. She is much loved, over 800,000 people have signed her petition, and I have thousands of messages for her to read one day. They keep me going now. They will be so important for her journey back once this cruelty is over.
He said that his wife has suffered dangerous weight loss, lost some of her hair, and struggles to walk. On Friday afternoon relatives were due to visit her.
Relatives asked Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s lawyer to appeal against the decision. No date for the appeal has yet been set.
The Revolutionary Guards have detained a series of dual nationals since last autumn, in a crackdown which appears to be a challenge to the Rouhani Government as well as a maneuver versus Iran’s supposed foes.
Among those held is Iranian-American oil executive Siamak Namazi, detained last autumn, and his 80-year-old father Baquer. Earlier this week, Iranian officials confirmed the arrest of another Iranian-American, Robin Shahini, in July.
In January 2016, four Iranian-Americans held in a previous wave of arrests, including journalist Jason Rezaian, were released as implementation of the July 2015 nuclear deal was announced.