British-Iranian Woman Returns to Prison After Temporary Release

Three days after she was given a temporary release, a British-Iranian woman returned to prison in Tehran Sunday after authorities there refused to extend the furlough.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has been jailed since early 2016 following her arrest at the Tehran airport as she tried to return to Britain with her daughter following a family visit.  Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was born in Iran, is married to a British man and has dual British and Iranian citizenship. She was given a five year sentence for “plotting to topple the Iranian regime.”

Last week she received a three day release “to reunite with her family,” according to a tweet from Iran’s ambassador to Britain, Hamid Baeidinejad.  

Family members and supporters hoped that the furlough would be extended or even made permanent, but her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said Sunday that after mixed messages from Iranian authorities as to whether Zaghari-Ratcliffe could remain free longer, she returned to Evin prison.  Ratcliffe said his wife went back to prison voluntarily to avoid having their daughter, who is living with relatives in Iran, see her “dragged out of bed in the middle of the night.”

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, tweeted that he had spoken to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif last week in an effort to win Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s freedom “but that clearly wasn’t enough.”

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