Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Appeal Fails for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s Second Sentence

British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been told that the appeal of her second sentence has been dismissed.  

Following the completion of her initial five-year sentence for unfounded charges related to national security, in March this year, Nazanin was sentenced to a further year in prison and an additional one-year travel ban for the charge of “spreading propaganda against the regime”.  

Today, Nazanin’s lawyer was called by the Judiciary and told that her appeal had failed. She has not yet been summoned to prison. It is unclear whether she will be returned to prison or house arrest with an ankle tag, or whether she will be left in limbo in Iran indefinitely.  

Nazanin is innocent of the charges alleged and is being detained by Iran for diplomatic leverage over the UK. She has been told that she is being detained over the UK’s failure to pay an outstanding £400 million debt.   

Rupert Skilbeck, Director of REDRESS said:

“The ongoing severe suffering Nazanin is subjected to by Iran amounts to torture. If she is returned to prison, this may cause irreparable damage to her health. The UK Government must intervene and do everything in its power to protect Nazanin from further abuse, and ensure she is returned to her husband and daughter in the UK without delay.”

Background information  

  • Nazanin is a British-Iranian charity worker who has been arbitrarily detained in Iran and separated from her husband and daughter since she was arrested at a Tehran airport on 3 April 2016. During this time, she spent more than eight months in solitary confinement and has been denied urgent medical treatment. She was released from house arrest on 7 March 2021 but was immediately re-tried for a second set of charges on 14 March 2021. She was sentenced to a further one-year jail sentence and one-year travel ban on 26 April 2021. This sentence has not yet been implemented. Iran has never followed the rule of law in Nazanin’s case and she has never received a fair trial. The precise nature of the charges and evidence in this second case remain unclear and indistinct from first case. 
  • Nazanin and her family have been told by Iranian authorities that she is being detained because of the UK’s failure to pay an outstanding £400 million debt to Iran. The debt is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings before the UK courts. 
  • Six United Nations Special Rapporteurs have previously stated that Nazanin’s treatment may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or torture, as prohibited under Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Following an independent physical and psychological evaluation by doctors, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims determined that its findings were “highly consistent” with allegations of torture and ill-treatment during Nazanin’s time in detention. REDRESS considers that Iran’s treatment of Nazanin constitutes torture under the UN Convention Against Torture 
  • REDRESS has campaigned for Nazanin’s release since 2016. Following a submission by REDRESS, the UN WGAD found in 2016 that her detention was arbitrary and requested Iran to release her. REDRESS and Doughty Street Chambers, as Nazanin’s legal representatives, submitted a second complaint to the UN WGAD asking it to recognise and address Iran’s practice of state hostage-taking. 
  • In March 2019, following advocacy by REDRESS, the UK Government took the exceptional step of escalating the matter to an inter-state dispute with Iran, through granting Nazanin diplomatic protection. 
  • REDRESS’s work on Nazanin’s case is carried out in collaboration with Prof John Dugard SC, Alison Macdonald QC and Dr Tatyana Eatwell.