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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's temporary release from Iranian prison extended, says husband

Nazanin's family have ardently campaigned for her release since her 2016 arrest [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 March, 2020

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The British-Iranian aid worker, who has been temporarily released from Evin prison where she is serving a five-year term, has had her furlough extended for two extra weeks.
A British-Iranian woman serving a jail term in Tehran has had her temporary release extended for another two weeks, her husband said on Saturday.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, is currently on leave from Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, staying at her parents' house in the capital, but had been due to return on April 4.

"Nazanin's father got told today that it has been extended until Saturday April 18, an extra two weeks," her husband Richard Ratcliffe told AFP in an emailed statement.

He said the news had prompted "a lot of relief in our house".

Zaghari-Ratcliffe had last month expressed fears she might contract coronavirus in jail, although she subsequently tested negative.

Her husband had previously said she was required to wear an ankle tag and stay within 300 metres of her parents' home, in what he likened to house arrest.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016 after visiting relatives in Iran with their young daughter.

She worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation - the media organisation's philanthropic arm - at the time.

Iranian authorities convicted her of sedition - a charge Zaghari-Ratcliffe has always contested - and she is serving a five-year jail term. 

Some 85,000 detainees, including political prisoners, were temporarily freed in Iran last week as the Islamic Republic struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Iranian authorities initially said they would release 70,000 prisoners, but was subsequently criticised for leaving political detainees imprisoned.

In-depth: Coronavirus 'inching closer' to dual national political inmates at Iranian prison

In 2017, Boris Johnson was the recipient of intense criticism after he made a misleading statement about Zaghari-Ratcliffe, when he was foreign secretary at the time.

He said that her conviction for spying on Iran was an injustice, but added that she was "simply teaching journalism", a statement both her family and her employer were quick to say was untrue.

Three days later Zaghari-Ratcliffe was summoned before an unscheduled court hearing, where Johnson's words were cited as proof she was engaged in "propaganda against the regime".



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