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Nazanin's jail release extended, may get clemency

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (photo), the Thomson Reuters Foundation manager imprisoned in Tehran since 2016, has had her temporary release extended by two weeks.

Richard Ratcliffe, her husband, said his wife’s release will now run until 18 April 18 and the family have been told her case will be considered for clemency by the Iranian prosecutor-general.


Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, was temporarily released from jail on 17 March, as Iran struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. While on release, she has been instructed to wear an ankle tag and must stay within 300 metres of her parents’ home in Tehran.


She was sentenced to five years on charges of espionage, which she has denied. Her family and the British government insist that she is innocent and had merely been in Iran to visit family with her young daughter.


British prime minister Boris Johnson prompted indignation in 2017 when, as foreign secretary, he stated wrongly that she had been “teaching people journalism” in Tehran.


Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, described the news of her extended release on Saturday as a “glimmer of hope amid the darkness.”


As Iran struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, its judiciary has temporarily released about 85,000 prisoners, most of whom are charged with social crimes, but some political prisoners have also been allowed out on licence.

Following a request from the head of the judiciary, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei granted clemency to an unspecified number of prisoners charged with security, military and financial offences in a bid to contain spread of the virus within prisons. ■

Financial Times