Zaghari-Ratcliffe back in Iran court on 'propaganda' charges

Zaghari-Ratcliffe back in Iran court on'propaganda charges

It is unacceptable that Iran was pursuing a second case against British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, British foreign minister Dominic Raab has said.

"The Iranian government has deliberately put her through a cruel and inhumane ordeal".

Her family and her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity, deny the charge.

Asked whether Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be allowed to leave the country, Kermani said: "I don't know about her travel ban situation".

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe could have to wait a week before hearing a court's verdict on new charges of "propaganda against Iran".

"Given the evidence presented by the defence and the legal process, and the fact that my client has also served her previous sentence, I hope that she will be acquitted", the lawyer added.

"Her trial was held at branch 15 of the Revolutionary court".

After the trial on Sunday, Kermani said he expected the verdict within the next week.

New charges of "propaganda against the system" made by Iran against British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a week after she finished serving a five-year sentence, are "unacceptable", Britain says.

Last Sunday, Zaghari-Ratcliffe's ankle tag was removed and her family are now hopeful she will be found not guilty and be allowed to return home as they await the verdict.

Some observers have linked Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case to a long-standing debt Iran alleges it is owed by the UK. Nazanin, now 42, has strenuously denied the accusations with her case becoming a matter of major diplomatic disagreement between Britain and Iran during the five years she has spent separated from her husband and young daughter.

"We don't know what we don't know, I think the uncertainty is part of the abuse".

Mr Ratcliffe said his wife has been "agitated" and unable to sleep as she battled post-traumatic stress disorder and depression caused by the torture she suffered in prison.

He said: "If they'd gone - it's a bit tricky to be allowed into the courtroom because you do technically need authorisation from the other government - but they could have easily accompanied her to court and that signal that "we're standing alongside her, she's a British citizen and we're watching you", it's a missed opportunity and it's not the first time they've missed the opportunity to protect her".

Mr Ratcliffe said he was feeling "better than I was expecting" but was still "guarded, cautious and worried".

"The charges are not particularly relevant since the point of reviving this case again last week was simply to hold Nazanin for leverage as negotiations with the United Kingdom have intensified", said Ratcliffe.

Iranian authorities have consistently denied that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was mistreated.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it had formally requested access to the hearing.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was allowed to move to her parents' home a year ago due to the coronavirus threat in the notorious Evin prison.

Mr Ratcliffe had hoped the British ambassador would accompany his wife to the trial, but said the British embassy in Tehran had declined.