Thursday, December 9

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Tehran court on second set of charges | Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian dual national detained since 2016, faced a second round of charges Sunday at Iran’s revolutionary court in Tehran.

She was released from house arrest last Sunday at the end of a five-year prison sentence, but because she was summoned to court again on the other charge, she was not allowed to leave the country to return to her family.

Her lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, told the Iranian website Emtedad that he had high hopes that she would be acquitted, but there was no immediate word from the Iranian judiciary on the next steps.

“His trial took place in branch 15 of the revolutionary court. His accusation is propaganda against the system, ”Kermani said on the website.

“The trial was carried out in a calm environment with the presence of my client … The legal defense was made and the final defense was taken … I have high hopes that she will be acquitted.”

He told Reuters: “Legally, the court should announce the verdict in a week, but it is up to the judge.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spent nearly nine months of her four years in prison in solitary confinement and spent the last year with an ankle tag at her parents’ home in Tehran. His psychological state is said to be very fragile. The British embassy was not represented in court as Iran does not recognize dual citizenship.

Richard Ratcliffe, her husband, said he feared no decision would be made before the end of the Iranian New Year in April and asked the UK Foreign Office to drop its reluctance to describe her as a state hostage.

“Nazanin was allowed at the hearing to make a personal statement, where he clarified that he did not accept the accusation and pointed out that all the accusations and evidence presented had been part of his trial in 2016,” he said.

“While the charges are not particularly relevant, given that the point of reviving this case again last week was simply to keep Nazanin as a lever in the negotiations with the UK, it is worth clarifying that no new charges were made today.”

He said the UK’s decision not to publicly acknowledge that she was a state hostage, held by Tehran for influence over the British government, was not helping his wife. “It is a fallacy that the euphemism protects the victims,” ​​he said. “It just protects the perpetrators. It does not protect Nazanin or other British citizens with dual citizenship in prison. “

Chronology

Imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran

to show

Arrest in Tehran

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is arrested at Imam Khomeini Airport as she tries to return to Britain after a vacation visiting her family with her daughter, Gabriella.

Launch campaign begins

Sentenced

Hunger strike

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s health is deteriorating after spending several days on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.

The appeal fails

Boris Johnson intervenes

Boris Johnson, then foreign secretary, tells a select parliamentary committee “When we look at what [she] she was doing, she was just teaching journalism to people. “Four days after her comments, Zaghari-Ratcliffe returns to court, where her statement is cited as evidence against her. Her employers, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, deny that she has trained journalists, and his family maintain he was in Iran on vacation. Johnson is finally forced to apologize for the “heartbreak and anguish” his comments cause in the family.

Health concerns

Her husband reveals that Zaghari-Ratcliffe fears for her health after lumps were found in her breasts that required an ultrasound, and that she was now “on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”

Hunt meets her husband

Temporary release

He is granted a temporary release of three days.

Hunger strike

Diplomatic protection

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt takes the unusual step of granting him diplomatic protection, a move that elevates his case from consular matter to the level of a dispute between the two states.

Travel warning

The UK updates its travel recommendation for dual British-Iranian citizens, and for the first time advises against all travel to Iran. The council also urges Iranian citizens living in the UK to exercise caution if they decide to travel to Iran.

Hunger strike in London

Richard Ratcliffe joins his wife in a new hunger strike campaign. He fasts in front of the Iranian embassy in London as she begins a third hunger strike protest in prison.

Hunger strike ends

Zaghari-Ratcliffe ends her hunger strike with breakfast. Her husband also ends his strike in front of the embassy.

Transferred to the mental health ward

According to her husband, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was transferred from Evin prison to the Imam Khomeini hospital mental ward, where the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has prevented her relatives from contacting her.

Daughter returns to London

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s five-year-old daughter Gabriella, who has lived with her grandparents in Tehran and visited her mother regularly in prison for the past three years, returns to London to start school.

Temporary release

Amid the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, she is temporarily released from prison, but will be asked to wear an ankle brace and not move more than 300 meters from her parents’ home.

New charges

Iranian state media reports that he will appear in court to face new and unspecified charges. Ultimately, a court appearance over the weekend on a new charge of propaganda against the state that could leave her incarcerated for another 10 years is postponed without notice, leading Zaghari-Ratcliffe to say, “People don’t You must underestimate the level of stress. Let me calm down. You don’t understand what it is. Nothing is calm. “

Return to prison threatened

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is told that she will be tried on new charges and that she will return to prison after the hearing.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Zaghari-Ratcliffe had undergone “a cruel and shameful ordeal due to the behavior of the Iranian government.” He said he should be allowed to go home.

Tulip Siddiq, a Zaghari-Ratcliffe MP, said the delay in awaiting the court’s verdict amounted to mental torture, but added that the judge ended the 20-minute hearing saying it would be his last court appearance. “Nazanin is again trapped in limbo and spends another Mother’s Day away from her husband and daughter.”

Some of the new charges include attending a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in London and being interviewed by the Persian BBC network. These events predate his visit to see his mother with her daughter Gabriella in Tehran, and it is unclear why they could not be presented as evidence at the first trial in 2016.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last Wednesday to underscore the seriousness with which the British took the threat of Iran bringing a second round of charges against Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Iranian media reported that during the call, Rouhani raised the issue of a £ 400 million debt that Britain acknowledges it owes the Islamic Republic in capital and interest for a 1970s arms deal with the then Shah from Iran. The UK has said it cannot pay the debt due to sanctions on Iran.

Rouhani said that it was very strange that the debt had not been paid. The United States had paid a parallel debt of $ 1.7 billion for a canceled arms deal in 2016. The United States’ payment in cash and installments was made at the same time as a prisoner swap that the United States insisted was unrelated.

The trial comes in a tense diplomatic context, with talks on the United States’ return to the nuclear deal stalled on how both Iran and the United States could take simultaneous and consecutive steps to return to compliance with the deal. The United States says indirect diplomacy is underway between it and Iran through the European Union and other intermediaries, but the slow progress has surprised and angered Tehran.

The UN’s nuclear inspection, the International Atomic Energy Authority, is in talks with Iran about the level of inspections it will still be allowed to carry out at Iran’s nuclear sites.

Hardliners fighting for prominence ahead of the June presidential elections are taking increasingly intransigent positions on issues such as the level of uranium enrichment allowed.


www.theguardian.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share