NEWS
21/04/2020 09:43 BST | Updated 21/04/2020 15:38 BST

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's Temporary Release From Prison Extended

Husband Richard Ratcliffe told HuffPost UK his wife was "hugely relieved".

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s temporary release from an Iranian jail has been extended for one month, her MP has said.

Tulip Siddiq tweeted on Tuesday morning: “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.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been living in relative isolation at her parents’ house in Tehran while the country gets to grips with the coronavirus outbreak.

She has to wear an ankle tag during the furlough, and can only go within a 300-metre range of her parents’ home.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe told HuffPost UK his wife had called him to share the happy news.

He said: “She is hugely relieved, as the waiting day-to-day for their decision had been getting really stressful, and increasingly ominous. It’s so great to have another month.

“There is no news on clemency, so that is something her lawyer will follow up on, but I think her immediate target is to try to be allowed to visit hospital for various medical checks. So that is what she has been lobbying the embassy for.”

Ratcliffe said he and the couple’s daughter Gabriella have been spending several hours a day on video calls with Zaghari-Ratcliffe during her release from prison in Iran.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett: “Nazanin was out for three days back in the summer of 2018 and we had a couple of calls then, but it was so tense and so uncertain and they were being harassed all the time.

“This is a lot more normal. We have been complaining about the prosaics of home schooling and normal parenting – it’s been nice to muddle our way through that together.”

He added Gabriella had initially struggled to understand why her mother had not come home during her temporary release.

Ratcliffe said: “She [Gabriella] would be very happy to speak to her, but then have a meltdown after every phone call.”

He added: “But that’s melted away – she has suddenly become a lot happier to share and engage. [...] It’s not all been plain sailing but I think it’s beginning to feel a bit more human again.”

Human rights charity Amnesty International said it was “very pleased” for Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

They added: “There should be no question of Nazanin ever being sent back to Evin Prison. There are numerous reports of Covid-19 in Iranian jails, with detainees pleading for basic things like soap to help combat the disease.

“We’re urging the Iranian authorities to finally do the right thing and free Nazanin permanently, allowing her to return to her family back here in Britain.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport while travelling to show her young daughter to her parents in April 2016.

She was sentenced to five years in prison over allegations, which she denies, of plotting to overthrow the Tehran government.

She was later afforded diplomatic protection by the UK government, which argues that she is innocent and that her treatment by Iran failed to meet obligations under international law.