Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's furlough extended as Iran coronavirus fears grow

British detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's furlough extended as coronavirus fears in Iran prisons grow
2 min read
21 April, 2020
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's temporary release has been extended for another month, authorities said.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released for an extra month [Twitter]
The temporary release of British-Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been extended for an extra month as fears of coronavirus in Iran's prisons continue to grow.

Aid worker Zaghari-Ratcliffe, arrested in 2016 and serving a five-year jail term for sedition, was among 100,000 prisoners temporarily released in March.

Her leave had been extended until May 20, her lawyer told state news agency IRNA on Tuesday.

Her UK MP Tulip Siddiq said she is “very happy” to hear about the extension and pressed on the government to ensure her release is permanent.

“Very happy to hear from Richard Ratcliffe that Nazanin’s furlough has been extended for a month - in line with other prisoners in Iran. Now is the time for our government to do all it can to make it permanent,” she tweeted.

Last week, a panel of UN human rights experts called on Iran to expand the list of prisoners it has temporarily released over the coronavirus outbreak to include "prisoners of conscience and dual and foreign nationals".

Iran's judiciary announced on Tuesday that it has temporary released more than 1,000 foreign prisoners due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, following criticism by UN human rights experts.

Read also: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe spends 'another day in limbo' awaiting release decision

"What Iran has done in guaranteeing prisoners' health and granting furlough to them is a significant move" compared with what other countries have done, said judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili.

In response, Esmaili said the experts should report what "America and Britain have done regarding their detainees".

"We have granted furlough to over 1,000 foreign nationals... some of these countries' nationals were among them, too," he told a news conference.

The judiciary spokesman said Iran should not be criticised for "discriminatory conduct" as it has an "excellent" track record.

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