Court Upholds New 1-year Sentence for Iranian-British Woman

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
October 16, 2021 Updated: October 16, 2021

TEHRAN, Iran—An Iranian appeals court has upheld a verdict sentencing an Iranian-British woman long-held in Tehran to another year in prison, her lawyer said on Saturday.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has already served a five-year prison sentence in the Islamic Republic. Her lawyer Hojjat Kermani told The Associated Press that the appeals court upheld a verdict issued earlier this year sentencing her to another year.

The verdict additionally includes a one-year travel ban abroad, meaning she cannot leave Iran to join her family for nearly two years.

In April, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced for allegedly spreading “propaganda against the system” when she participated in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.

Kermani said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “concerned” when he informed her about the appeals court decision. He said his client is in touch with her family.

State media in Iran did not immediately acknowledge the ruling, apparently issued after a closed-door hearing.

Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe jailed in Tehran since 2016, and his daughter Gabriella, attend a protest outside of the Iranian Embassy in London on March 8, 2021. (Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of plotting the overthrow of Iran’s government, a charge that she, her supporters, and rights groups deny. While employed at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency, she was taken into custody at the Tehran airport in April 2016 as she was returning home to Britain after visiting her family.

Rights groups accuse the Iranian regime of holding dual-nationals as bargaining chips for money or influence in negotiations with the West, something Tehran denies. Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, so detainees like Zaghari-Ratcliffe cannot receive consular assistance.

Authorities furloughed Zaghari-Ratcliffe from prison because of the surging coronavirus pandemic and she has been restricted to her parents’ Tehran home since.