London, 23 Jan – A British-Iranian woman has had her five-year sentence upheld in the Iranian appeals court.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation charity, was sentenced in September on unspecified national security charges.
This appeal was her last legal avenue to get her out of Iranian prison.
When this news broke on Sunday, her husband Richard, gave a statement.
He said: “The lack of justice in Nazanin’s case continues to be a stain on Iran. The continued attempt to frame Nazanin behind secrets and lies brings shame.”
He continued: “It is a needless waste of a mother and child’s life for their own political bargains and economic interests […] And yet this ordeal continues, with all its consequences for Nazanin and Gabriella, and for all of us watching on. It is no way to toy with people’s lives. There is no way we will let it rest. Nazanin will not be forgotten.”
Nazanin, 38, had brought her one-year-old daughter to Iran to visit family and was on her way back to the UK, when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards arrested her.
She was accused of attempting to overthrow the government, which her husband, her family and her work have always denied.
She was taken to an unknown location for a few weeks, before being transferred to Evin Prison.
Gabriella, now two, has been separated from both of her parents for the past nine months. As the IRGC seized her passport as well, she is unable to return to the UK with her father, Richard. She currently resides with her maternal grandparents in Iran, and is only permitted very limited contact with her mum.
Richard wrote a letter to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, earlier this month, in which he said: “Nazanin has occasional visits from Gabriella via a blindfold, at the discretion of her captors, far less than the visits reported to the UN. I am reduced to parenting by Skype.”
Nazanin’s arrest and imprisonment is more likely about the Iranian Regime extracting money or favours from the British Government; as they have tried with many other dual nationals in the past few years.
Richard wrote: “I have stated publicly I regard both my wife and daughter as being held by Iranian factions for other agendas, as bargaining chips for international and domestic politics, inventing lies to protect their economic interests. This is a politics that it is unfair on my family to be involved in. It is a politics for which my family has paid a heavy enough price.”
To support the #FreeNazanin campaign, please click here to sign the petition.
She is being held on the female ward of Evin Prison in Tehran. Other women on the ward are also political or religious prisoners.