Charity worker accused of being a spy in Iran could be handed diplomatic protection by Britain to help free her from five year prison sentence
- Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe sentenced to five years in prison in 2016
- The mother, accused of spying, insists she was introducing her child to family
- Her husband says she is ‘reaching the end of her patience’ as efforts hit wall
Daily Mail Reporter
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is considering granting diplomatic protection to free a British charity worker jailed in Iran.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison in 2016, accused of spying.
She denies the allegations, insisting she was on holiday visiting family with her baby daughter.
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British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran for allegedly plotting to topple the Iranian government
Mr Hunt said he had been going over the case in ‘enormous detail’ and considering her husband Richard Ratcliffe’s request to grant her diplomatic protection – a mechanism under international law where a state can help one of its nationals whose rights have been breached in another country.
Mr Hunt said he had not ‘come to a final decision’.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 39, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, is facing a further hearing over an unspecified security charge.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe insists she was visiting Iran to introduce her daughter (right) to family
A candle-lit vigil was held for the British mother who on her 800th day in jail – as her supporters claim she is being used as a ‘political pawn’.
The vigil was held outside the Foreign Office in London, where friends and family members lit the candles for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe on her daughter Gabriella’s fourth birthday.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard, from West Hampstead, London, said: ‘Part of the reason we’re here in front of the Foreign Office is just to say “listen, this is still going on. Please find a way to solve this.”‘
He said they have been seeking diplomatic protection for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
He added: ‘There are clearly things going on between UK and Iran’s relationship. That means that we are a political bargaining chip – partly because we’re so high-profile.’
Her husband said yesterday that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was reaching the ‘end of her patience’ in the absence of any diplomatic progress to get her home to the UK.
Richard Ratcliffe holds a family photo on the second anniversary of his wife’s detention