Iran denies parole for UK-Iranian, rights activist

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 when on a visit with her daughter. — Reuters pic
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 when on a visit with her daughter. — Reuters pic

TEHRAN, Dec 23 — Iran’s prosecutor general has denied conditional release for a jailed British-Iranian mother and a prominent human rights activist, a lawyer for the two said, according to state media.

“We had requested conditional parole and furlough for both Nazanin Zaghari and Narges Mohammadi, and the prosecutor general has disagreed with both,” Mahmoud Behzadirad said, quoted late yesteray by state news agency IRNA.

“Conditional parole is my clients’ legal right,” the lawyer added.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 as she was leaving Iran after taking her then 22-month-old daughter to visit her family.

She had been working for Thomson Reuters Foundation—the media organisation’s philanthropic arm—and was sentenced to five years in jail for sedition.

Mohammadi, 47, was the spokeswoman for the Centre of Human Rights Defenders in Iran and had campaigned against the death penalty.

Initially arrested in 2015, the mother-of-two was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison for “forming and managing an illegal group” among other charges.

The human rights activist reportedly suffers from a neurological disease that causes muscular paralysis.

She “must be examined... at least every six months but has not been for several months now,” the lawyer said, noting that even the intelligence ministry, as the security body handling the case, had agreed to the leave.

“Zaghari has been examined by a psychiatrist several times and is in a situation similar to Narges Mohammadi,” Behzadirad added.

The British-Iranian’s daughter, Gabriela, returned to Britain in October after having stayed with relatives in Iran since her mother’s detention, visiting her every week.

The two women launched a three-day hunger strike in January and ended it after being allowed to resume medical treatment outside the prison, according to Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband. — AFP

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