Hopes that imprisoned British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe will be released before Christmas have been dashed by Iran’s judiciary chief.
Gholamhossein Esmaili said there was no possibility the Thomson Reuters Foundation employee could be freed until she had been tried on additional charges filed last month of ‘spreading propaganda’.
Nazanin was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3, 2016, after visiting relatives with her young daughter before being jailed for five years over sedition charges.
‘Nazanin Zaghari has two cases – in the first, she has been convicted, but the second has yet to go to court and there is no verdict,’ Esmaili told the judiciary’s Mizanonline news service.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, pictured with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella, is serving five years for taking part in mass protests in 2009, which she denies
Gholamhossein Esmaili said there was no possibility the Thomson Reuters Foundation employee could be freed until she had been tried on additional charges filed last month of ‘spreading propaganda’. Pictured: Nazanin with daughter Gabriella
Yesterday, Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe revealed he had been given renewed hope after a computer database at the Iranian judiciary marked her status as ‘eligible for release’
‘The court can convict or acquit her. If she is convicted, we don’t know what the sentence will be. So we don’t know when she will be able to be released.’
Iranian authorities accused her of links to mass protests in 2009, which she denies, and sentenced her to five years in jail for sedition. They do not recognise dual nationality.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe told AFP yesterday that he had been told by an Iranian lawyer that she was now ‘marked for early release’.
‘He said there’s still paperwork to finalise, but it should be over soon – days to weeks, not months or years.’
On her being home in time for Christmas, Ratcliffe said there was ‘an outside shot’.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe told AFP yesterday that he had been told by an Iranian lawyer that she was now ‘marked for early release’
Family photos in their home in London where the couple hopes to be reunited as soon as possible
Her case has become highly politicised, especially after a ‘slip of the tongue’ by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson last month when he stated that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training journalists in Iran, which has been used by prosecutors to help justify the new charges.
Johnson visited Tehran earlier this month to press for her release on humanitarian grounds.
An online petition in her support has collected almost 1.5 million signatures.
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