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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe avoids being returned to jail

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (photo) avoided being sent back to jail on Monday after appearing in court to hear fresh charges of undermining the Iranian state.

There had been fears that she would be sent back to Evin prison in Tehran but the hearing was adjourned before she could present her defence, her British-based family said.


No UK officials were present at the hearing, despite repeated requests from the UK Foreign Office.


Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been under house arrest at her parents’ home in Tehran since March when she was temporarily released in part due to the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.


She has served four and a half years of her five-year first sentence, and she has admitted to being terrified of being sent back to jail for another lengthy sentence. There was no new evidence in the file handed to her lawyers to justify the charges, according to her family. Informed last week that the second trial was to go ahead this week, Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been told to bring clothes with her since she would be returning to jail.


Her daughter, Gabriella, is in London with her husband, Richard, who said: “This is a good first step, but it is not enough. The use of the court process as a negotiating tactic by the Revolutionary Guard remains deeply traumatic for Nazanin and the rest of us. We await the next escalation. We do not expect it to be kind”. ■

The Guardian