Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe transferred to mental health ward

Imprisoned British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe transferred to mental health ward
3 min read
17 July, 2019
Imprisoned British-Iranian mother, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been transferred to a mental health ward and isolated from her father and consulate staff.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe recently ended her 15-day hunger strike, launched to protest her imprisonment [Getty]

A British-Iranian mother jailed in Tehran since 2016 on sedition charges has been transferred to the mental ward of a hospital in Tehran, her family announced Wednesday, sparking the concern of her family. 

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was transferred from Evin prison to an isolated mental ward in Imam Khomeini hospital on Monday, where her father confirmed she is being held by the Revolutionary Guard, according to a statement from the Free Nazanin campaign.

"It is unknown how long Nazanin is expected to be in the psychiatric ward. It is not clear what kind of medical treatment will be provided," it said.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband expressed his concern about the move after the Revolutionary Guards blocked Nazanin's access to her father and consultate staff, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The last time she met the Revolutionary Guard, which was when she was on hunger strike, they were pressuring her to sign various denouncements of the British government and to confess to various things... Are they only isolating her again to squeeze her?" her husband said.

"It's possible it's good news. It's possible that it is a prelude to her release and getting treatment, and actually, all my fears are unfounded. And then it's possible that something else is going on."

A psychiatrist recently recommended that she be "instantly hospitalised due to her sharp deterioration since her previous meeting, and the risk of her taking matters into her own hands", added the statement.

"I was healthy and happy when I came to Iran to see my parents," she was quoted as saying by her family.

"Three and a bit years later and I am admitted to a mental health clinic. Look at me now - I ended up in an asylum. It should be an embarrassment."

The 40-year-old recently ended a 15-day hunger strike held to mark her daughter Gabriella's fifth birthday.

Read more: UK 'withholds £400m debt payment to Iran' linked to Zaghari-Ratcliffe release

She was arrested in April 2016 as she was leaving Iran after taking then 22-month-old Gabriella to visit her family.

Nazanin was sentenced to five years for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government.

A project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the media group's philanthropic arm, she denies all charges.

The case has added to long-standing tensions between Tehran and London, which is a major arms supplier to Iran's arch-enemy Saudi Arabia.

Iran confirmed on Tuesday that it had arrested a well-known French-Iranian academic without giving any details of her case.

The detention of Fariba Adelkhah, 60, risks increasing tension between Paris and Tehran at a critical moment in efforts to save a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Other Iranian dual nationals jailed in Iran include Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer, who are serving 10-year sentences for espionage in a case that has outraged Washington.

Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University researcher, is serving a 10-year sentence for espionage, and US national Michael White, 46, was this year also sentenced to 10 years.

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