A British lawyer and lawmaker said today, Sunday, that Iran has ended the house arrest imposed on British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and removed the electronic watch bracelet around her ankle at the end of her 5-year prison sentence, but she was summoned again to court on another charge.
Zaghari Ratcliffe, a project manager at Thomson Reuters Corporation, was arrested at a Tehran airport in April 2016 while she was on her way back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit.
Authorities released Zaghari-Ratcliffe in March 2020 after she had spent most of her sentence in Evin Prison in Tehran, and placed her under house arrest after fears of a Covid-19 outbreak in Iranian prisons, but imposed restrictions on her movements and prevented her from leaving the country.
Hajjah Kermani, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s lawyer, told an Iranian website that the Iranian leader, Ali Khamenei, pardoned her last year, but she spent the last year of her sentence under house arrest with an electronic watch strap placed around her ankle. “Now the bracelet has been taken off, she is released,” he added.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family and the foundation for which she works – a charity that operates independently of media company Thomson Reuters and its subsidiary Reuters news agency – deny the charge.
Kermani explained that the hearing in the second case against Zaghari-Ratcliffe is scheduled for March 14.
He said that Zaghari-Ratcliffe is accused in this case of propaganda against the Iranian regime, for her participation in a demonstration in front of the Iranian embassy in London in 2009, and for giving an interview to the Persian service of BBC television at the same time.
For his part, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged on Sunday to do everything in his power to release Zaghari Ratcliffe.
Johnson said on Twitter, “I am happy to have taken off the watch bracelet From Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle, but her continued detention is totally unacceptable. “
“She should be released permanently in order for her to return to her family in the United Kingdom, and we will continue to do everything we can to achieve this,” he added.
In turn, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed the removal of the electronic bracelet from Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle, but said that Iran is still putting her and her family in “unbearable harsh ordeal.”
Her lawyer told Iranian state television that he was not aware of the travel ban on her.
British MP Tulip Siddiq said today that she had spoken to Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family, and that her first trip would be to see her grandmother.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imprisonment caused a diplomatic crisis between Britain and Iran, and British diplomatic efforts to provide consular support failed because Iran does not recognize dual citizenship status.