March 18, 2020
British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been temporarily released from prison in Iran as it struggles to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, was part of a temporary release of 85,000 prisoners. She has been in prison since April 2016, and was sentenced in September that year to five years’ imprisonment for allegedly “plotting to topple the Iranian government.” She has vehemently denied all charges.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “I am relieved that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was today (Tuesday) temporarily released into the care of her family in Iran. We urge the regime to ensure she receives any necessary medical care.”
He added: “While this is a welcome step, we urge the government now to release all UK dual nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran, and enable them to return to their families in the UK.”
There are many other Britons and dual nationals detained in Iran on charges of spying or plotting against the regime.
Many have recently detailed the extent of sickness in Iranian jails, especially in the notorious Evin prison.
Last week, British-Iranian political prisoner Anoosheh Ashoori sent a recorded message to his wife saying his jail was in chaos because of the virus. He appealed to the UK government to do more to help secure his temporary release.
Ashoori, 65, was moved to a different ward as coronavirus allegedly spread among his inmates.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release has been a major campaign effort for the British government, with several foreign secretaries calling for her freedom.
Soon after the news of her release was published, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was photographed smiling with a tracking device attached to her ankle.
She is permitted to remain within 300 meters of her family’s home during the temporary release.