Middle East Affairs

Charity worker Ratcliffe serving 5 yrs on charges of “toppling Iran’s regime” is charged a 2nd time

Charity worker Ratcliffe serving 5 yrs on charges of “toppling Iran’s regime” is charged a 2nd time

Charity worker Ratcliffe serving 5 yrs on charges of “toppling Iran’s regime” is charged a 2nd time
May 21
13:45 2018
By Middle East Affairs 

After spending two years in jail, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian was summoned in court once more for the second round of charges, said her husband.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe who runs the Free Nazanin campaign to raise awareness for her imprisonment said that the charges made against her were “spreading propaganda against the regime, which she denies.

Rob Macaire, the British ambassador to Tehran was finally able to speak with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on Sunday, he said that “This is the first time that she has been allowed any contact with the embassy in over two years.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was working for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the media group when she was arrested at the Tehran airport in April 2016.

Iran accuses Ratcliffe of running “a BBC Persian online journalism course which was aimed at recruiting and training people to spread propaganda against Iran. Charges that Ratcliffe denies. BBC Media Action group said that Ratcliffe’s position for them was junior and purely administrative, she was never directly involved with teaching journalists.

Some of the journalists that were trained in BBC’s Media Action group have also since been arrested for their actions in putting Iran at risk, according to Yadollah Movahed, the head of the Justice Department in the Iranian city of Kerman.

Movahed also says that Ratcliffe was not arrested for her activity during her visit to Iran, but when she was out of Iran.

The charges made against her were sedition, Ratcliffe has denied any involvement in wanting to agitate Tehran.

She is serving a five-year sentence, while her parents in Tehran are looking after the couple’s three-year-old daughter who was with Ratcliffe when she was arrested. Ratcliffe has asked for a temporary release from jail next month to celebrate her daughter’s fourth birthday, who she has been separated from for over two years.

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson visited Tehran last year in December to press for Ratcliffe’s release on humanitarian grounds.

The U.N has also made repeated requests for Ratcliffe’s release. Mr.José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said, “We consider that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been arbitrarily deprived of her liberty and that her right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal has been violated… These are flagrant violations of Iran’s obligations under international law.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe, and their daughter before she was arrested in 2016. (social media)

The Free Nazanin campaign has collected 1.5 million petition signatures from over 155 countries calling for her release and pleading her innocence.

Amnesty International is supporting Ratcliffe as well, in their campaign on her behalf they say that she was held in solitary confinement for 45 days while she waited for charges against her to be announced. During this time she was unable to speak to her family or a lawyer.

Amnesty also reports that Ratcliffe’s health is deteriorating and that she has been unable to see proper medical care inside the prison in Kerman, and now the one in Tehran.

On the Free Nazanin website, it writes that she has only been allowed two calls to her husband, both times to tell him of her charges when her family in Tehran is able to visit her, they have found her too weak to stand or walk.

Activists have accused the British government of not doing enough to demand Ratcliffe’s release, they point out that Iran is conducting its charges in secret and that Ratcliffe is in great danger.

Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament along with 56 other signatories delivered a letter to Federica Mogherini, the Vice-President of the European Commission in 2016 asking for her help in releasing Ratcliffe from Iran’s charges, noting that several other dual citizens had also been arrested.

The two years that have passed since Ratcliffe’s arrest have dwindled the interest in her imprisonment, while Iran shows no signs of freeing Ratcliffe or lessening her sentence, especially, since the second charges against her were just announced.

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