UK Condemns ‘Inhumane’ Sentencing of Dual Citizen in Iran

April 26, 2021 Updated: April 26, 2021

The British government has condemned the Iranian regime after British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was given a further one-year jail term for spreading “propaganda” against the regime.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe completed a five-year sentence in March on spying charges, the last year of which was spent under house arrest due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

Her lawyer Hojjat Kermani told The Associated Press on Monday that she had been given a new jail term on a charge of spreading “propaganda against the system” for participating in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s additional one-year jail term was “totally inhumane and wholly unjustified.”

“We continue to call on Iran to release Nazanin immediately so she can return to her family in the UK. We continue to do all we can to support her,” he wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also promised to work “very hard” to secure her release.

“The government will not stop, it will redouble our efforts, and we are working with our American friends on this issue as well,” he told reporters.

ichard Ratcliffe protests outside Iranian Embassy in London
Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and their daughter Gabriella protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London, on March 8, 2021. (Andrew Boyers/Reuters)

Tulip Siddiq, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s local MP representing Hampstead and Kilburn, said the news was “absolutely devastating” and that it was “shocking that her husband was only just notified.”

“Another abusive use of her as a bargaining chip. I’m speaking to the family & will update when I know more,” she said on Twitter.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at a Tehran airport in April 2016 as she prepared to head back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit.

She was later sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment. Her family and the foundation, a charity that operates independently of media firm Thomson Reuters and its news subsidiary Reuters, deny all charges against her and say she was only visiting relatives in Iran.

She was released from jail in March last year and put under house arrest in Tehran in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in Iran’s prisons, but her movements were restricted and she was barred from leaving the country.

PA, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.