Iranian court upholds new jail term for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

The Iranian British woman was handed a new one-year jail sentence after spending five years in prison.

Richard Ratcliffe and his daughter Gabriella have been campaigning for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe since she was arrested in Tehran in 2016 [File: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images]

An Iranian court has upheld a verdict sentencing Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to another year in prison in Tehran, prolonging a detention that began in 2016.

The appeals court upheld a verdict issued in April, her lawyer Hojjat Kermani told The Associated Press news agency on Saturday. Iranian state media did not immediately acknowledge the ruling issued after a closed-door hearing.

The 43-year-old Iranian British woman was found guilty of spreading “propaganda against the establishment” when she participated in a protest in front of the Iranian embassy in London in 2009.

The court also upheld a one-year ban on travel abroad, meaning she cannot leave Iran to join her husband and six-year-old daughter for nearly two years.

Kermani said his client was “concerned” about the appeals court decision.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at the Tehran airport in April 2016 as she was returning home in Britain after visiting her family and handed a five-year jail sentence for plotting the overthrow of Iran’s government.

Her previous sentence ended in March 2021, raising hopes of her return to the United Kingdom. She was instead immediately ordered back into court to face new charges.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, she has been temporarily freed, with movements restricted to her parents’ Tehran home.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was working for the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the time of her arrest. Her family and the charity, a subsidiary of the Reuters news agency, have denied the charges.

Rights groups have accused Tehran of using the dual-national as a bargaining chip for money and influence in negotiations with the West.

Iran, which does not recognise dual nationalities, has denied the accusations.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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