NO-WAY-IRAN: UK protests new charges against Zaghari-Ratcliffe

New charges of “propaganda against the system” made by Iran against British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a week after she finished serving a five-year sentence, are “unacceptable”, Britain says.

It is unacceptable that Iran was pursuing a second case against British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, British foreign minister Dominic Raab has said.

“It is unacceptable that Iran has chosen to continue the second case against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe,” Raab said in a statement on Sunday.

“She has been put through a cruel and disgraceful ordeal by the calculating behaviour of the Iranian government. This must end.” 

“She must be allowed to return to her family in the UK without delay. We continue to do all we can to support her,” Raab wrote on Twitter.

It came after British-Iranian dual national Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s lawyer said that she appeared in a Tehran court on Sunday to face new charges of “propaganda against the system”, a week after she finished serving a five-year sentence.

Back in court

The hearing has dashed hopes of family and supporters for a swift release of the 42-year-old, in a case that has heightened diplomatic tensions between London and Tehran.

“The hearing took place in a very calm and good atmosphere, in the presence of my client,” her lawyer Hojjat Kermani told AFP, adding that the judgement would be handed down at a later and unspecified date.

According to Kermani, she is now being prosecuted for “propaganda against the system for having participated in a rally in front of the Iranian embassy in London” in 2009.

“Given the evidence presented by the defence and the legal process, and the fact that my client has also served her previous sentence, I hope that she will be acquitted,” the lawyer added.

In London, her Member of Parliament Tulip Siddiq said that “no verdict was given”, but added that “it should be delivered within a week”.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained while on holiday in 2016 and convicted of plotting to overthrow the regime in Tehran – accusations she strenuously denied.

The mother-of-one was working at the time as a project manager for Thomson Reuters Foundation, the media organisation’s philanthropic wing.

She has been under house arrest for months and had her ankle tag removed, giving her more freedom of movement and allowing her to visit relatives in Tehran.