Monday, 24 April 2017
A British-Iranian woman detained in Iran while on a trip with her toddler daughter has exhausted all chance of having her five-year prison sentence overturned in court, her family said on Monday.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is one of several dual nationals held in Iran by hardliners in the country’s judiciary and security services on espionage charges, likely to be used as bargaining chips in future negotiations with the West.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the Reuters news agency, found out over the weekend that her final appeal to Iran’s supreme court had been denied, her husband Richard Ratcliffe said.
Mr Ratcliffe said he wants the British government to publicly call for his wife’s release, rebut the Iranian spy allegations against her and have the British ambassador in Tehran visit her in prison.
She still has not been allowed to know the exact charges for which she was convicted, he said.
"It is a not such a surprise that this final appeal failed. We have had two secret trials and now a closed panel review," he said. "But it is still nonsense that even at this stage Nazanin still does not have firm details of the charges against her."
Iranian news agencies have said Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was convicted of plotting the "soft toppling" of Iran’s government. Her family says Iran’s paramilitary Revolution Guard tried to get her to confess on camera to training and recruiting spies – something she refused to do.
"I would like to reiterate that I am entirely convinced of Nazanin’s innocence," said Monique Villa, the CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "She is not a spy but an innocent mother who travelled to Iran only to show her baby to her parents."
* Associated Press