The trial of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at Iran’s Revolutionary court was held on Sunday, her lawyer Hojjat Kermani said, hoping she would be acquitted from the charge of “propaganda against the system”.
“Her trial was held at branch 15 of the Revolutionary court. Her charge is propaganda against the system,” Kermani said, adding that “Zaghari-Ratcliffe was fine and calm at the court session”.
🚨PLEASE RT🚨— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) March 8, 2021
On the day Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe should be reunited with her husband & daughter, we’re at the Iranian Embassy handing in a petition signed by 160,000 of you demanding that Nazanin is permanently freed. #FreeNazanin pic.twitter.com/xr4E5s1Qx5
“The trial was held in a calm atmosphere. The final defence was taken. Legally, the court should announce the verdict in a week but it is up to the judge. I am very hopeful that she will be acquitted,” Kermani told Reuters.
Iran had released Zaghari-Ratcliffe from house arrest last Sunday at the end of a five-year prison sentence, but she had been summoned to court again on the other charge.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at a Tehran airport in April 2016 and later convicted of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment.
Her family and the foundation, a charity that operates independently of media firm Thomson Reuters and its news subsidiary Reuters, deny the charge.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who served out most of her sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison, was released last March during the coronavirus pandemic and kept under house arrest, but her movements were restricted and she was barred from leaving the country.
Last Sunday, Iranian authorities removed her ankle tag, but she still could not leave Iran.
Asked whether she could leave the country, Kermani said:”I don’t know about her travel ban situation.”
When she should be celebrating #MothersDay with her daughter, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was instead back in court in Iran facing a second charge.— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) March 14, 2021
With no verdict announced yet, her life continues to be left in limbo.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab welcomed the removal of the ankle tag but said Iran continued to put Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family through a “cruel and an intolerable ordeal”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a call with Iranian Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday, said Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be allowed to return home to her family.
Iranian media reported that during the call, Rouhani raised the issue of a 400-million-pound historical debt which Tehran says Britain owes the Islamic Republic in capital and interest for a 1970s arms deal with the then-Shah of Iran.
Authorities in London and Tehran deny that Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case is linked to the repayment deal for the non-delivery of tanks. But a prisoner exchange that freed four American citizens in 2016 saw the US pay a similar sum to Iran the same day of their release.
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