Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe imprisoned by Iran ‘because of British nationality’

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Oct 24, 2017
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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could face more than 20 years in prison

A charity worker has been targeted and subjected to human rights abuses in Iran because of her dual British-Iranian nationality, leading counsel have told the UK government.

Campaigners allege that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been arbitrarily imprisoned by the Iranian authorities in Evin prison, Tehran, where she is serving a five-year term. It is understood that Zaghari-Ratcliffe is facing new charges for which she could receive an additional 16-year sentence.

Redress, the civil liberties group that commissioned the legal opinion on Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s status, claimed yesterday that the British government had yet to acknowledge that she had “been the victim of serious violations of human rights or that she was targeted because of her dual nationality”.

The legal opinion from Alison Macdonald, QC, of Matrix Chambers, John Dugard, SC, and Tatyana Eatwell, both of Doughty Street Chambers, claimed that it had been “clearly established on evidence that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is detained arbitrarily in Iran and has been subjected to a series of grave violations of her fundamental rights to a fair trial and to be treated humanely”.

The barristers claim that there is no legal basis for her imprisonment under domestic or international law and that the conditions of her detention have fallen far below international standards.

Their opinion, which has been submitted to ministers, claimed that Zaghari-Ratcliffe “has been denied the most basic guarantees required for a fair trial under international law”.

The lawyers said that there were “strong grounds to suggest that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been targeted and discriminated against by the Revolutionary Guard because she is a dual national and a British citizen”.

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