Friday, 20 May 2016
British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe has been detained in an undisclosed detention centre in Kerman, southern Iran, since 3 April. She has been denied access to a lawyer and has limited contact with her family. She was held in solitary confinement until 18 May. The authorities have not allowed her British consular assistance.
Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, a project manager at Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity organization promoting socio-economic progress, independent journalism and the rule of law, was arrested on 3 April at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport by officials believed to belong to the Revolutionary Guards. She was about to leave Iran to the UK along with her toddler daughter, Gabriella Ratcliffe, after visiting their family in Tehran. Before being taken into custody, she was allowed to leave her daughter in the care of her parents, who had accompanied her to the airport. The authorities have confiscated the passport of her daughter, who holds British nationality.
Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe was apparently held in a detention facility in Tehran for about a week before being taken to an undisclosed detention centre in Kerman, southern Iran. Her family returned to the airport the day following her arrest to inquire about her fate and whereabouts but the authorities refused to provide them with any information, including the reasons for her arrest and detention. Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe was only permitted to make a brief phone call to her family for the first time three or four days after her arrest. She was not, however, allowed to give any details during the phone call, including on her whereabouts. Over a week after her arrest and in response to repeated queries, the family finally received a call from an unidentified official saying that Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe was held in the city of Kerman. The family were later told by another unidentified official that she had been arrested for “reasons related to national security”, but it appears that she has not yet been formally charged. Since her arrest, she has been denied the right to access a lawyer and is feared to have been coerced into making “confessions”. Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe was allowed a meeting with her family, including her daughter, for the first time on 11 May in a hotel room in Kerman. The meeting, which lasted over two hours, took place in the presence of security agents. She has been permitted to make several brief phone calls to her family members in Iran but has not been allowed to speak to her husband, who is based in the UK.