Evening Standard

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe news: Jailed British-Iranian mother 'asked to spy on UK for Iran in return for safety'

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 14/01/2019 14:03:00
© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Iran tried to recruit jailed charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as a spy for their Government, her husband claimed today.

The 40-year-old is at the start of a three-day hunger strike over her treatment in prison and a lack of access to medical care.

Her husband Richard said Iranian Revolutionary Guard interrogators visited her in prison on December 29 and tried to pressure her into becoming a spy for Iran.

The charity worker, 40, is in prison in Tehran after being convicted of spying against the Iranian regime and is said to be feeling a "strong sense of trepidation" about her protest.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Her husband Richard Ratcliffe speaks at a press conference on Monday (PA) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media LimitedHer husband Richard Ratcliffe speaks at a press conference on Monday (PA)

She denies all the charges against her and said she was in the country visiting family.

At a press conference in London this morning about her hunger strike, Mr Ratcliffe said: "What really pushed her over the edge was they tried to make her become a spy for Iran against the UK."

Specifically, he said, they wanted her to spy on the Department for International Development and "she was told it would be safer for her and safer for her family afterwards if she agreed to do this".

Mr Ratcliffe added: "She was told to think about it and that they would return. She had been terrified ever since."

a woman smiling for the camera: The British-Iranian mother spent her 40th birthday in prison in Iran on Boxing Day (PA) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media LimitedThe British-Iranian mother spent her 40th birthday in prison in Iran on Boxing Day (PA)

He also said he would be meeting Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt this afternoon to discuss his wife's case.

Mr Hunt has said she is innocent and that there will be consequences for Iran over her imprisonment.

The mother of one, a dual British-Iranian national from Hampstead, is striking until Wednesday alongside human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who is also in Evin jail.

Both women say the Iranian authorities have repeatedly denied them specialised medical care.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe wants to see a specialist for lumps in her breasts, pain in her neck and numbness in her arms, as well as an external psychologist.

Her husband has been campaigning for her release since she was arrested in April 2016 at Tehran airport, following a holiday to introduce their daughter Gabriella to her family.

Mr Hunt retweeted a comment by BBC journalist John Simpson, who wrote: "Our thoughts are with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as she starts her hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment in Iran, where the authorities are holding her hostage."

Campaigners made fresh calls today for the Government to place Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe under diplomatic protection.

Rupert Skilbeck, director of human rights organisation Redress, said: "The UK government must treat Nazanin's case as a legal dispute between states and seek a remedy on her behalf, taking immediate steps to secure her release.

"We are gravely concerned about the mental and physical impact that Nazanin's prolonged and unjustified imprisonment is having on her.

"Any new denials of her right to medical care further worsen the ongoing serious violations of her human rights.

The UK government should assert Nazanin's rights under international law to obtain reparation on her behalf - including her release."

The Foreign Office is considering offering diplomatic protection alongside other possible courses of action, including sanctions against Iran.

14. tammikuuta 2019 16:03:00 Categories: Evening Standard Ilta Sanoma Ilta Sanoma - Ralli Ilta Sanoma - Urheilu

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