Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe questions detention as Australians freed from Iran

Support us and go ad-free

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has asked why she is still incarcerated in Iran more three years after being detained – after Australia secured the release of two citizens from the country last week.

Jolie King, a dual British-Australian citizen, and her Australian boyfriend Mark Firkin were returned to Australia last week, some three months after being arrested.

The couple, who had been blogging and vlogging on their extended journey across Asia, were arrested on spying charges after flying a drone near a military base, Iranian officials confirmed.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran (Family Handout/PA)

Their release, which came with the pair yet to face a court hearing, was secured as Australia returned scientist Reza Dehbashi to Iran.

He had been detained for 13 months in Australia over the purchase of a defence system from the United States for use in Iran.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in Iran in 2016 and given a five-year sentence for allegedly plotting against the Iranian government, had come to know King after the two were housed in the same area of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

While pleased to hear of King and Firkin’s return to Australia, Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been left to question why British officials have not yet secured her release, according to her husband Richard Ratcliffe, who telephones his wife regularly.

“I told Nazanin yesterday and she was very pleased that Jolie was released,” Ratcliffe told the Times.

“Obviously for Nazanin it is also bittersweet. While there is no queue for cases like this, she did ask how come the Australians can solve their hostage cases in a couple of months while the UK has taken over three and a half years. I had no answer.”

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif last month said Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s fate was connected to a historic debt Britain owed Iran over a decades-old weapons deal.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her husband recently decided their five-year-old daughter Gabrielle would be returned to the UK, having been in Iran since her mother’s arrest in 2016.

Meanwhile, another British-Australian woman, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, is still in Evin prison where she has been for almost a year.

Moore-Gilbert, a Cambridge-educated, Melbourne-based academic specialising in Islamic and Middle East studies, has reportedly been handed a 10-year sentence, also on a charge of spying.

Australian officials are still working to secure her release.

Support us and go ad-free

Do your bit for independent journalism

Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.

We need you to help out, if you can.

When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.

You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.

In return you get:

  • Advert free reading experience
  • Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
  • 20% discount from our shop

 

The Canary Fund us