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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s prison release extended again, says MP

The British-Iranian mother-of-one was freed from Evin prison on March 17 as Iran responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (Family handout/PA)

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (Family handout/PA)

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (Family handout/PA)

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s temporary release from a Tehran prison has been extended again, according to her MP.

The British-Iranian mother-of-one was freed from Evin prison on March 17 as Iran responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq tweeted on Wednesday morning: “Nazanin’s furlough has been extended and she is NOT going back to prison today”.

The Hampstead and Kilburn MP said the uncertainty is causing Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family “unimaginable stress,” adding: “The Government must step up efforts to make sure her furlough is made permanent.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been staying at her parents’ house since her release, and her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said in April that she had been in regular contact over Skype with their five-year-old daughter Gabriella, who now lives with him in the UK.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s funny how quickly that almost becomes normal again, seeing her on a Skype screen and being able to talk to her late at night and early in the morning. It’s lovely.”

He added: “Gabriella was a bit disorientated when Nazanin first came out as to why she hadn’t come to the UK – why had she not come to our house but gone to granny’s house (in Iran).”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport while taking her young daughter to see her parents in April 2016.

The mother-of-one was sentenced to five years in prison, accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, which she denies.

She was later afforded diplomatic protection by the UK Government, which argues that she is innocent and that her treatment by Iran failed to meet obligations under international law.

Amnesty International said it is concerned “that the Iranian authorities are still playing games with Nazanin and her family”, and called on the Government to secure her permanent release.

Kate Allen, the charity’s UK director, said: “Obviously, there should be no question of Nazanin ever being sent back to Evin prison.

“There are numerous reports of Covid-19 in Iranian jails, with detainees pleading for basic things like soap to help combat the disease.

“With Nazanin’s long-term fate still apparently undecided, the UK Government must step up efforts do everything within its power to ensure her full and unconditional release.”

PA