Iranian officials are assessing the health of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to determine whether she is fit to stay in prison as it was revealed the British mother has suffered a post-traumatic stress disorder attack caused by state TV “propaganda”.
In a fresh update, the Free Nazanin Campaign also released pictures of a ‘freedom pinafore’ made by Nazanin for her daughter, Gabriella, from wool left behind by released prisoners.
Gabriella, who is now three and is staying with Nazanin’s parents in Iran, has forgotten the English she has learned, though still tries to communicate with her British-based father through Skype.
Nazanin has been held in one of Iran’s most brutal prisons for more than 600 days on trumped-up charges of spying. She was only in the country on holiday with her daughter visiting her parents.
The campaign on Tuesday outlined the fragile state of Nazanin’s health, saying she has been hit by insomnia, severe depression and panic attacks, as well as suicidal thoughts.
This has been compounded by a recent bout of coverage on Iranian state TV that prompted her second post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) attack.
Footage in Iran showed pictures of a BBC pay stub and an email from 2010 that the broadcaster suggested showed Nazanin once worked to train Iranian journalists.
Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has condemned the network for putting her court case at risk with repeated falsehoods.
On Sunday, Iran’s Prosecutor’s Office ordered Nazanin to be assessed by the Health Commission to see whether she is fit to remain in prison.
The campaign said:
“She told the Commissioner about her uncontrollable moods, particularly panic and anger, her repeated insomnia, and bouts of severe depression.
“She mentioned having periods of feeling suicidal and having panic attacks, and particularly the impact of the way she is being shown on TV, which had induced particular agitation and depression.
“The prison doctor also noted that she had had what he termed a PTSD attack on Thursday following the latest TV broadcast, and that she was currently on antit-depressants and other medication.”
The assessment will be presented to the Prosecutor’s Office later in the week.
The update went on to detail the attack:
“When she saw the claims while sitting with the other women prisoners watching the evening news, Nazanin fell off her chair, she told her husband this weekend.
“She collapsed onto one of the prisoner’s beds, eyes closed. She started to sob, but she could not. No sound came out. It took her more than a minute before she was able to breathe properly and cry. She lay completely white, coughing as she couldn’t call out.
“The other prisoners sat her up, and one ran down to tell the guards she needed to go to the prison clinic as an emergency. Since she could not walk there unaided – her legs went numb – she was helped there by two prisoners, Nargess Mohammedi and Atena Daemi.
“Nazanin noted this morning that her legs are still numb, 5 days later.”
Nazanin’s plight was made worse last month after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that she had been “training journalists” - an erroneous comment that has been exploited Iran.