NEWS
24/12/2017 15:12 GMT | Updated 24/12/2017 15:27 GMT

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's Husband Hopes For Boxing Day Birthday Release

Richard Ratcliffe is 'sitting by the phone'.

PA
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could be eligible for release from jail next month

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband is hopeful his wife will be released from an Iranian prison in time for her Boxing Day birthday.

Richard Ratcliffe said he is waiting by the phone to be told the British-Iranian mother can return home.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Broadcasting House programme, he said: “She’s still in prison today, so best case is tomorrow.

“It’s her birthday on Boxing Day so we were sort of hoping she’d be out for then.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who turns 39 on December 26, is serving a five-year sentence over allegations, which she denies, of plotting to overthrow the Tehran government.

John Stillwell/PA
Richard Ratcliffe with his wife Nazanin

The broadcaster further quoted Ratcliffe as saying Nazanin could be freed within the next fortnight. 

The charity worker was on holiday in Iran with her daughter Gabriella when she was arrested last year.

On Thursday Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sister-in-law Rebecca Jones said her lawyer had discovered that on a judiciary database, her case had been marked eligible for early release.

On Sunday Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported that the country’s judiciary spokesman said that if she did not face new charges, Zaghari-Ratcliffe could be released from prison next month, after completing a third of her sentence.

Ratcliffe said on Christmas Eve that there was no sign of a new court case and that he was “sitting by the phone hoping”.

He added that he would light candles on a birthday cake for his wife, and call their three-year-old daughter Gabriella who is being looked after by her grandparents in Iran “as she likes watching them being blown out”.