Nazanin Zaghari Bio, Nazanin Zaghari Wiki
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British-Iranian dual citizen who has been detained in Iran since 3 April 2016. In early September 2016, she was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment allegedly for “plotting to topple the Iranian government”.
The prosecutor general of Tehran had stated in October 2017 that she was being held for running “a BBC Persian online journalism course which was aimed at recruiting and training people to spread propaganda against Iran”.
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Arrest and trial
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Canadian news agency Thomson Reuters’ charitable arm, traveled to Iran on 17 March 2016 to visit her family for Nowruz (Iranian New Year) with her 22-month-old daughter. On 3 April 2016, members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard arrested her at the Imam Khomeini Airport as she and her daughter were about to board a flight back to the UK. Her daughter’s British passport was confiscated during the arrest, but later returned, and she remained in Iran under the care of her maternal grandparents so she could visit her mother.
The exact reason for her arrest was initially unclear, though according to Amnesty International it is believed to be related to the 2014 imprisonment of several Iranian technology news website employees. The head of Kerman province’s justice department, Ali Tavakoli, said they had participated in projects run by the BBC and received funds from London:
“This gang was running a number of projects and plans for anti-revolutionary Iranians based abroad, especially for the BBC Persian, under the guise of legitimate activities. Financial aid for this group was usually provided from London under the pretext of charitable donations. The director of the team was an individual who has served the BBC as a mentor and teacher in a number of countries such as Malaysia, India and Afghanistan and his travels to these countries were paid for by British intelligence services.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe has worked for the BBC World Service Trust (now called BBC Media Action), an international charity that provided training courses to Iranian citizen journalists and bloggers in its Iran Media Development Project’s ZigZag magazine and associated radio program. In 2014, several graduates were convicted and sentenced by Iran to up to 11 years in jail for their participation in these courses.
Nazanin worked for the BBC World Service Trust between February 2009 and October 2010, “in a junior capacity as a Training Assistant” according to the CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, before moving to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. BBC Media Action described her role as “junior and purely administrative”.
According to Yadollah Movahed, the head of the Justice Department in the Iranian city of Kerman, and as reported by the Iranian news network Press TV, Nazanin was arrested “over her involvement in post-election riots that engulfed Tehran and some other cities in 2009”. Movahed said Zaghari was among the suspects who “conducted activities against the security of the country by designing websites and carrying out campaigns in the media” during 2009. According to Movahed, Nazanin has not arrested for activity inside Iran or for activity during her 2016 holiday to Iran: “Some members of the group were outside Iran, including the suspect Nazanin Zaghari”. Mashregh News, an outlet close to Iranian authorities, pointed to her alleged involvement with the human rights organizations Women Living Under Muslim Laws and Hivos as a motive for her arrest.
According to Press TV in June 2016, “The CGRI headquarters in Kerman province announced that Nazanin Zaghari had been identified after a large intelligence operation. She was one of the liaison officers of networks hostile to Iran abroad. According to this source, she was responsible for several missions, and conducted her criminal activities under the direction of media and intelligence services of foreign governments.”
In early September 2016, she was sentenced to five years in prison “for allegedly plotting to topple the Iranian regime.” The prosecutor general of Tehran stated in October 2017 that she was imprisoned for running “…a BBC Persian online journalism course which was aimed at recruiting and training people to spread propaganda against Iran”. PressTV in 2017 reported she had been “found guilty of spying and spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic”, describing the activities involved as her BBC World Service Trust work:
She identified potential Iranian recruits and invited them to attend the training courses, received and reviewed their resumes, managed financial affairs related to the courses in Malaysia and India, picked trainers, assessed the performance of the participants and managed the ZigZag Academy’s websites.
Ratcliffe is in ‘good health’, says Iran after coronavirus fears
(1/2) News from Iranian Ambassador that my constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be released on furlough today or tomorrow from prison in Iran. If this is true, Nazanin would welcome leaving Evin jail, but we’ve been here before.
— Tulip Siddiq (@TulipSiddiq) March 3, 2020
The imprisoned British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has “good health” and has no coronavirus, says Iran, as a British deputy said she could be released from a Tehran prison shortly temporarily.
Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has been asking his wife to get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus after she showed symptoms that include “cough, temperature, body aches, and fatigue.”
He also claimed that hygiene material was lacking for prisoners in the prison of the capital, where he is being held.
The deputy of the couple, Ms. Siddiq de Labor, said that “the test had not yet been done” of the disease, since the spokesman of the judiciary of Iran, Gholamhossein Esmaili, said later that the assistance worker was reviewed amid virus concerns.
“Mrs. Nazanin Zaghari, we investigated her and she is in good health,” Esmaili said.
“Yesterday he had contact with his family and told them about his good health.”