Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Tehran Shifts Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to Mental Health Ward from Prison

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 40 recently ended a 15-day hunger strike held to mark her daughter Gabriella's fifth birthday Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 40 recently ended a 15-day hunger strike held to mark her daughter Gabriella's fifth birthday
Patty Aguilar | 19 July, 2019, 14:59

"Hopefully her transfer to hospital means that she is getting treatment and care, despite my distrust of just what pressures can happen behind closed doors".

Iranian authorities arrested Nazanin at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport, while she was travelling with her daughter in April 2016.

The 40-year-old recently ended a 15-day hunger strike held to mark her daughter Gabriella's fifth birthday.

"We are extremely concerned about Nazanin's welfare and call for her immediate release", a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Siddiq said Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family have no idea how she is being treated following the transfer.

I hate being played in the middle of a political game.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was moved from Tehran's Evin prison to the psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital in the capital, the Free Nazanin Campaign, which is led by Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard Ratcliffe, said in a statement.

The case has added to long-standing tensions between Teheran and London, which is a major arms supplier to Iran's arch-enemy Saudi Arabia.

She was not given assurances as to contact with her family and was forced to wear handcuffs in hospital despite demanding otherwise.

Nazanin's husband Richard Ratcliffe claimed that Iran's Revolutionary Guards have been preventing her relatives, including Nazanin's father from contacting her.

"I was healthy and happy when I came to Iran to see my parents", she was quoted as saying by her family.

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Nazanin was arrested while on holiday in Iran with her young daughter Gabriella.

Ellie Kennedy, Amnesty International UK's individuals at risk campaigner, said: "Yet again, the fear must be that the Iranian authorities are playing games with Nazanin's health and well-being".

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has described her detention conditions to her family over the phone as "completely contrary to worldwide norms", he added.

Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University researcher, is serving a 10-year sentence for espionage, and U.S. national Michael White, 46, was this year also sentenced to 10 years.

Earlier, prime-ministerial candidate Boris Johnson's inaccurate comments further complicated Nazanin's case, when he told the media that she was teaching people journalism in Iran.

At the end of the dual hunger strike, Mr Ratcliffe said he believed the protest had been successful in raising the profile of his wife's case, with more than 100 MPs coming to show support to him in person, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In March, U.K.'s foreign minister announced that Zaghari-Ratcliffe would receive diplomatic protection, representing recognition by the British government that her treatment is unjust and illegal.

"We were quite hopeful that when she was taken into hospital it was a good sign, but the more she has been excluded and the fact she's under the control of the Revolutionary Guard just brings back all the nightmares", he told talkRADIO's Alastair Stewart.

The United Nations, the US Congress and Canadian Parliament have all made requests for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release.

According to the BBC, her father visited the Tehran hospital Tuesday, but was not allowed to see her.

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