New fear for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as her husband reveals there is no sign Iran will release the jailed mother when her sentence ends next month
- Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran since her 2016 spying arrest
- The mother-of-one has been wrongly accused of spying by Iranian authorities
- Her husband Richard Ratcliffe had hoped his wife would be returned soon
- He has not received an update about flights or a passport for his wife to return
Hope is fading for the imminent release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Her husband Richard said the lack of official preparation for her return to the UK from Iran after her sentence ends indicated that nothing would happen.
The British-Iranian mother was arrested in 2016 in Iran and wrongly accused of spying.
She was sentenced to five years in prison and separated from her husband and child. Her family are still counting the days until her sentence ends on March 7 when she should be free to go.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter Gabriella, has been detained in Iran since 2016 when she was arrested at the airport on suspicion of spying
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe, pictured, has campaigned tirelessly for his wife’s release, lobbying the British government to prioritise her case and have her returned to the UK
Iran is threatening to hit Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, with more spying charges after her sentence ends, which would keep her a prisoner
But Mr Ratcliffe has not heard anything from the Foreign Office about getting her passport ready or arranging her flight to the UK.
‘It’s not impossible that a rabbit is pulled out of a hat, but at this point I think no news is bad news,’ he said. ‘If they were due to release her, I think we would’ve heard more before. It doesn’t give me great hope.’ He said his wife is ‘getting more and more twitchy and anxious’ as her release date approaches.
Iran is threatening to hit Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, with more spying charges after her sentence ends, which would keep her a prisoner.
‘For years, the worst-case scenario was that she would serve the full sentence,’ Mr Ratcliffe said. ‘Now we’re staring at something much worse.’ He says Iran is holding her hostage over a £400million debt, dating back to the Iranian revolution, which it claims Britain owes.
The charity worker was released from prison in March because of the coronavirus crisis and is under house arrest at her parents’ home in the capital Tehran. The couple’s six-year-old daughter Gabriella, who returned to Britain from Iran in 2019 to live with her father in London, is anxious to be reunited with her mother.
Mr Ratcliffe is due to meet Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this week to ask what the Government’s Plan B is. Last week Mr Raab vowed to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in ending the ordeal of Britons jailed in Iran.
Mr Ratcliffe, pictured with his wife and daughter, is due to meet with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab shortly to discuss the case
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, pictured, was released from prison in March because of the coronavirus crisis and is under house arrest at her parents’ home in the capital Tehran