14 March 2021

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces week-long wait for verdict on new charges – MP

14 March 2021

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could have to wait a week before hearing a court’s verdict on new charges of “propaganda against Iran”, her MP has said.

The British-Iranian mother-of-one completed a five-year sentence earlier this month in Tehran on spying charges levied by Iranian authorities, the last year of which was spent under house arrest due to the pandemic.

But she returned to court on Sunday where she was tried on new charges of “propaganda against Iran”, Labour’s Tulip Siddiq said.

Some observers have linked Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case to a long-standing debt Iran alleges it is owed by the UK.

Ms Siddiq, the MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, wrote on Twitter: “I can confirm that Nazanin appeared in court this morning and was tried on new charges of ‘propaganda against Iran’.

“No verdict was given but it should be delivered within a week.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard said on Saturday that there was “jeopardy ahead of us in terms of what’s about to happen, we don’t know if it’s a big bad thing, a little bad thing or an uncertain thing that’s going to be dragged out for quite a while”.

The case was due to be heard in the Revolutionary Court, in front of the same judge who conducted Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s earlier hearings.

Mr Ratcliffe said: “The Revolutionary Court is not in the business of acquitting people, it does only do convictions but it can take its time in doing that and the sentence can vary.

“I don’t think at this stage I can read whether what we’re witnessing tomorrow is a warning shot, or is essentially building a whole new justification for holding onto her for years to come.

“We don’t know what we don’t know, I think the uncertainty is part of the abuse.”

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