Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British Iranian dual national, has been detained in Iran’s infamous Evin prison since April 2016.
Nazanin was on holiday with her young daughter visiting family in Iran when she was arrested and charged with “plotting to topple the Iranian regime”. Despite having refused requests to meet Nazanin’s husband and campaigners on her behalf for a year, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson publicly contradicted her reason for being in Iran claiming she was “training journalists”.
Johnson’s comments have apparently been used as evidence in a court in Iran, and Nazanin may now face a further 16 year sentence on top of her existing five years.
Nazanin works for the charitable arm of the Thomson Reuters news agency, and used to work for the charitable arm of the BBC, BBC Media Action, which has links to a training course for the BBC Persian service. It is thought her arrest may have been due to these indirect links with the BBC. BBC Persian service journalists report increased harassment by the Iranian authorities, and two months ago all the assets of 150 BBC staff, former staff and contributors were frozen for “conspiracy against national security”.
Nazanin has been put in solitary confinement multiple times and there are fears for her health. Her three year old daughter remains trapped in Iran, being cared for by her grandparents. Nazanin’s husband is in Britain, and only able to contact her sporadically. Nazanin must be freed, and the British government should be doing all it can to help.