British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Iran could have her term extended by 16 years | London

A British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Iran could have her term extended by 16 years under new charges.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has suffered severe physical and mental trauma since being arrested as she tried to leave Tehran last year with her daughter Gabriella following a holiday.

She is accused of plotting to topple the regime, which she denies, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, from Hampstead, north-west London, said she appeared in court on Sunday and told a new case has been opened against her. The new charges carry a sentence of 16 additional years imprisonment.

He said she was not allowed to have a lawyer and that the new charges would remove her eligibility for early release next month, as allowed by
Iranian law.

The new charges allege that she had joined organisations specifically working to overthrow the regime and that she once attended a demonstration outside the Iranian Embassy in London.

According to the family campaign to free her, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe said:

I have always been honest with them about what I have done and who I worked for. I was not trying to overthrow the regime.
I love my country. It is ridiculous. I have not done anything since I was sentenced. I have just been a prisoner in the corner, enduring quietly. What have they done this for?
I am so tired. Recently I thought it was the beginning of the end. But now I am back to the beginning. My life is slipping away from my hands, and I can’t do anything. I just want to come home.
The truth shall prevail – I haven’t done anything wrong, and I am paying the price for something else.

– Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Local MP Tulip Siddiq said the latest charges are “an outrage”.

These developments are particularly cruel at a time when her family had increasingly hoped that she would be granted temporary release.
With the possibility of 16 years being added to her sentence, it is high time the Government intervened with tangible effect.

– Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour, Hampstead and Kilburn

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