Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's wait over pardon set to continue amid hope of good news

27 May 2020, 20:01

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport in April 2016
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport in April 2016. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's anxious wait over whether she will be pardoned is set to continue after her family hoped they were on "the cusp of potentially good news".

A decision on whether to grant the jailed British-Iranian mother-of-one clemency was due to come on Wednesday, but her lawyer was kept waiting for hours and sent home with no news, the Free Nazanin campaign said.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was freed from Evin prison in Tehran on March 17 as part of the Iranian response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and her temporary release was further extended last week pending the decision.

On Tuesday, her husband Richard Ratcliffe had said: "We are on the cusp of potentially good news."

The campaign said in a statement: "Nazanin's lawyer went today to the Prosecutor's Office as requested for a decision on Nazanin's clemency.

"He was required to wait for a few hours. Eventually he was told that there was no news for him, but someone would call the family to update on the decision.

"Nazanin is required to call the Prosecutor's Office every Saturday, so we hope to get an update then if no call comes in the meantime."

Mr Ratcliffe told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "On the weekend, the supreme leader of Iran announced there was going to be over 3,000 people being pardoned because of Eid at the end of Ramadan."

He said legally his wife should be on the list "because she meets all the criteria", adding that the family is "hopeful".

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a charity worker with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport while taking her young daughter Gabriella to see her parents in April 2016.

She was sentenced to five years in prison, accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, which she vehemently denies.

She was later afforded diplomatic protection by the UK Government, which argues that she is innocent and that her treatment by Iran failed to meet obligations under international law.

She has been used as a political pawn, according to Nobel Laureate and Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, and civil rights groups like Amnesty International say her trial was unfair and she was jailed with no evidence.