Trial of British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on new charge held in Iran

WION Web Team
London, United KingdomUpdated: Mar 14, 2021, 02:30 PM IST


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The 42-year-old dual national was prosecuted for "propaganda against the system for having participated in a rally in front of the Iranian embassy in London" in 2009.

British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe appeared in a Tehran court Sunday to face new charges of "propaganda against the system", a week after she finished serving a five-year sentence, her lawyer said. 

"The hearing took place in a very calm and good atmosphere, in the presence of my client," Hojjat Kermani said, adding that the judgement would be handed down at a later and unspecified date.

The 42-year-old dual national was prosecuted for "propaganda against the system for having participated in a rally in front of the Iranian embassy in London" in 2009.

She had been under house arrest since the pandemic and her electronic ankle tag was removed last weekend but the summons means she cannot return home and has raised fears she could face a new sentence. 

She was ordered to appear on a separate security charge. Her husband Richard said the British embassy in Tehran had declined to accompany his wife to Sunday's trial.

It is also being reported that Zaghari-Ratcliff needs urgent treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, a rights group said Friday, as she faces the fresh Tehran court appearance.

A remote medical evaluation by International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims found Zaghari-Ratcliffe suffers from "serious and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder", according to rights group Redress.  

It says the former detainee's mental health problems are "due to her treatment in prison and under house arrest", as well as the ongoing legal uncertainty and separation from her family.

She spent long periods in solitary confinement, has physical problems including pain in her neck, shoulder and arm, tooth pain and lumps in her breast that have not been properly checked, Redress said.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the media organisation.

Her husband and supporters have said she and other dual nationals were being held as political hostages because of a long-standing dispute between London and Tehran over a failed arms deal.

Britain has repeatedly urged Iran to allow her to return home, where her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and their six-year-old daughter live.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab welcomed the removal of the ankle tag but said Iran continued to put Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family through a "cruel and an intolerable ordeal".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a call with Iranian Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday, said Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be allowed to return home to her family.

Iranian media reported that during the call, Rouhani raised the issue of a 400-million-pound historical debt which Tehran says Britain owes the Islamic Republic in capital and interest for a 1970s arms deal with the then-Shah of Iran.

(with inputs from agencies)