British mother facing 16 more years in Iranian jail

The Times Bel Trew, Cairo

A British woman jailed in Tehran could face 16 more years behind bars after the Iranian courts reopened her case and added three charges, her husband said.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 38, an Iranian-British dual national, has been serving a five-year sentence for allegedly plotting to topple the Iranian regime. The London-based office worker was arrested with her 18-month-old daughter, Gabriella, at Tehran airport in 2016 while trying to return to Britain.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is employed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable wing of the news organisation. The regime claims she used her charity work as a front to try to overthrow the authorities. The foundation has denied that she has ever worked on any programmes in Iran. Her daughter is still in the country and living with her grandparents.

A vigil was held for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe outside the Iranian embassy in London
A vigil was held for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe outside the Iranian embassy in LondonCHRIS J RATCLIFFE/GETTY IMAGES

According to her husband, Richard, 42, she appeared in court again on Sunday charged with joining organisations whose aim is to overthrow the regime, being paid by those organisations, and attending a protest outside the Iranian embassy in London. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison, collapsed as she heard the charges and had to be helped out of the courtroom, Mr Ratcliffe said. “She had attended the hearing thinking it was to secure her temporary release but was completely shocked when she was told she faces an additional 16 years in jail,” he told The Times.

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