No Freedom for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, as Second Court Case Looms
British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe will not be reunited with her husband and daughter in the UK, despite completing her five-year sentence today in Iran.
Nazanin has been told to appear before court on Sunday 14 March 2021. This may relate to a second case against Nazanin, which could be used to block her return to the UK. The case, which is not supported by evidence, was first opened in 2017. There is no indication of when or how it will be resolved.
However, in a more positive sign, the ankle tag that Nazanin has been forced to wear while under house arrest was removed today.
Nazanin’s ongoing detention has previously been found to be illegal under both international and Iranian law. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found in 2016 that her detention was arbitrary and requested Iran to release her, and a legal opinion commissioned by REDRESS in 2017 concluded that her detention was also illegal under Iranian law.
After spending four years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, in March 2020 Nazanin was placed under house arrest in Tehran. She has not seen her husband in five years, and has not been able to raise her daughter, who is now six years old.
Rupert Skilbeck, Director of REDRESS said:
“Despite having finished her sentence, Nazanin is now being threatened with further charges and more years separated from her husband and daughter. This ongoing cruelty violates the UN Convention Against Torture, and must be brought to an end. The UK government must do everything in its power to bring her home to be reunited with her family.”
Nazanin was detained in Iran in 2016 on charges of crimes related to national security, which she did not commit, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. The Iranian authorities since charged her with a further offence of which she is innocent, of “spreading propaganda against the regime”. She has not been properly tried, convicted or sentenced for the second set of charges.
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.
REDRESS has acted as legal representative for Nazanin and her husband Richard Ratcliffe and has campaigned for her release since 2016.
Notes to editors:
- Nazanin is a British-Iranian charity worker who has been arbitrarily detained in Iran and separated from her husband and daughter for five years. During this time, she has spent more than eight months in solitary confinement and has been denied urgent medical treatment. She is now under house arrest in Iran with an ankle tag.
- REDRESS has campaigned for Nazanin’s release since 2016. Following a submission by REDRESS, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found in 2016 that her detention was arbitrary and requested Iran to release her.
- 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. REDRESS considers that Iran’s treatment of Nazanin constitutes torture under Article 1 of the UN Convention Against Torture.
- 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.
Photo credit: Free Nazanin Campaign