Iran sentences woman with dual UK-Iranian citizenship to 5 years in prison

by WorldTribune Staff, September 11, 2016

A UK woman with a young child was sentenced to five years in prison by Iran’s Revolutionary Court in what her husband said was “a punishment without a crime.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 37-year-old from north London and mother of a 2-year-old daughter, was detained while on holiday in Iran on April 3. She is “distraught” after the sentence was handed down, Richard Ratcliffe told Sky News.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter.

Nazanin was accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime.

Analysts predicted that Iran would detain and demand cash for the release of more Westerners after U.S. President Barack Obama’s $400 million “ransom” payment to Iran for the release of American hostages.

UK shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has demanded that the government take action, saying Nazanin’s case “beggars belief. It is grotesque that a young mother should be removed from her baby to serve as a pawn in prisoner swaps.

“The Iranian government needs to drop this case and return Nazanin to her family here in Britain, and her own government needs to demand that action now.”

Richard Ratcliffe said his wife described her treatment in Iran as “so hard and harsh.” The couple’s daughter, who was with Nazanin when she was detained, is being cared for by her grandparents in Teheran after having had her passport confiscated.

The timing of Nazanin’s sentencing was “no coincidence,” Richard Ratcliffe said, suggesting that it was an attempt to prevent an improvement in relations between Iran and the UK.

The UK Foreign Office said it was deeply concerned by the reports and that the case would be raised by Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson with their counterparts in Iran.