Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: British-Iranian woman jailed for five years on 'secret charges' in Iran

Human rights group Amnesty International say the woman's trial was 'a complete travesty of justice throughout'

Siobhan Fenton
Social Affairs Correspondent
Friday 09 September 2016 18:28
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe pictured with her husband Richard
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe pictured with her husband Richard

A British-Iranian mother has been jailed for five years on “secret charges”, her husband has said.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a charity worker from Hampstead, north-west London, was sentenced on charges that “remain secret” after being detained for 150 days, Richard Ratcliffe said.

The 37-year-old, who was accused of plotting to topple the Iranian regime, was arrested at Imam Khomeini airport on 3 April as she was trying to return to Britain after a holiday visiting family with her daughter Gabriella.

The little girl, who celebrated her second birthday in June without her mother or father, is being cared for by her grandparents in Tehran who speak little English.

The five-year sentence, expected to be served in Evin prison, was handed down by Judge Salavati of the Revolutionary Court on Tuesday – the day after the UK and Iran upgraded Embassy relations.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe phoned her husband on Friday morning to confirm the sentence, which he branded “a punishment without a crime”.

On Friday afternoon family were due to visit Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe who, according to her husband, had suffered dangerous weight loss, lost some of her hair and became virtually unable to walk since being imprisoned.

Speaking to The Independent in May, following her arrest, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard said: “Nazanin is a kind, caring and very sociable person, a lovely and loving wife and mother, and it will be breaking her heart to be so far from her baby. She draws strength from being with family and friends and other mums, being stuck away in solitary confinement will be killing her.

Family have asked Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s lawyer to appeal against the decision. No date for the appeal has yet been set.

A spokesperson for human rights group Amnesty International said the trial was “a complete travesty of justice throughout”.

With additional reporting by agencies