British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe eligible for early release from Iran prison

23 December, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Boris Johnson was condemned over his comments More

Tehran's judiciary chief on Friday dismissed hopes of a swift release, possibly in time for Christmas, for British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is serving a five-year jail sentence for alleged sedition.

It is not yet clear whether the foreign secretary's belated intervention influenced the decision to free Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Her family said in October that the second case carried charges that could bring mean another 16 years in prison, including joining and receiving money from organizations working to overthrow the Islamic Republic and attending a demonstration outside the Iranian Embassy in London.

Her husband Richard has now confirmed that his wife is reportedly eligible for early release after she was informed of the news by her lawyer.

He said her lawyer was hopeful when he visited her in prison on December 20.

He told Sky News: "It is definitely a positive step".


"Part of me is trying not to get too hopeful and just to keep calm just in case there is more to come", he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was accused of making things worse for the British mum after he incorrectly told a Commons select committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching journalism in Iran on behalf of the her former employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"I think it feels like the tide has turned, certainly", he added.

She was arrested in Tehran airport in 2016 during a trip to the country to show her baby daughter Gabriella to her parents.

In November Iranian state television aired further allegations against Zaghari-Ratcliffe, raising fears that officials could add more years to her prison term.

Days later, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was summoned to a new court hearing at which Johnson's remarks were tabled as proof that she had engaged in propaganda against the regime. Not even the Revolutionary Court has claimed that.

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