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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian dual national detained in Tehran, says he still does not know if she will be released following the end of her sentence on Sunday.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced in 2016 to five years’ imprisonment over allegations of plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime — charges she has consistently denied.
The 43-year-old charity worker was arrested while in Tehran on a regular visit with her young daughter.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe told Sky News that he is still trying to find out whether she will be allowed to return to London and reunite with her daughter after the completion of her sentence.
“We’re obviously sitting very anxiously here, and she’s sitting anxiously waiting in Iran,” he said. “The judiciary has confirmed on the computer and shown that yes, indeed tomorrow is the last day and she should be released, but the arrangements haven’t been clarified.”
Ratcliffe said his wife’s lawyer in Iran had visited the prosecutor’s office to find further information regarding post-release protocol.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was transferred from prison to house arrest in her parents’ home last year as the coronavirus pandemic swept across Iran.
She has been forced to wear an electronic tag and is forbidden from traveling further than 300 meters from the residence.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the family that British officials are “trying really hard” to finalize a release, but warned that it was unlikely that Iranian authorities would follow a strict schedule, Ratcliffe said.
He added that if Zaghari-Ratcliffe is not released on Sunday, it will be a “watershed moment” that represents a serious failure on the part of the UK Foreign Office.
“We’ve had a calendar that our daughter has been counting down, because her mother did one in Iran, so she wanted to do one here,” Ratcliffe said.
“As we’ve got closer she’s picked up on the uncertainty, and obviously children do pick up on the mood. She started asking last night, ‘Is mummy really coming home?’ And I had to say ‘I really don’t know’.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said it is “in close contact” with Zaghari-Ratcliffe and will “continue to provide support.”
A statement said: “We do not accept Iran detaining dual British nationals as diplomatic leverage. The regime must end its arbitrary detention of all dual British nationals.
“We continue to do everything we can to secure the release of arbitrarily detained dual British nationals so that they can be reunited with their loved ones.”
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