Iran sentences British citizen to five years in prison

Iran sends Iranian-British woman accused of trying to overthrow the government to five years in prison.

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Prisoner in jail
Prisoner in jail

Iran has sentenced an Iranian-British woman accused of trying to overthrow the government to five years in prison, The Associated Press reported Sunday, citing a news website affiliated with the judiciary.

The news website, Mizan Online, quoted a prosecutor as saying the sentence against the woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been finalized. The prosecutor did not elaborate.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was detained in April of 2016 while trying to leave the country with her toddler daughter, who remains in Iran with family after authorities seized her passport.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, confirmed on Sunday that an appeals court upheld her sentence, for the charge of "acting against national security", according to AP. The family has denied she violated any laws.

Last July, on the 100th day of his wife’s imprisonment, Ratcliffe delivered a letter to the British Prime Minister's office, explaining that his wife dangerously ill, and being held without charges, and asking that the government intervene to release her.

Iranian authorities have arrested a number of dual citizens on security-related charges since the country reached a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, in a crackdown led by hard-liners in the security services and the judiciary.

British Prime Minister Theresa May raised concerns about Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case during a phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last August, according to AP.

Britain closed its embassy in Iran in 2011 after it was stormed by Iranian students who were protesting against Western sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

Two years later, Britain resumed its ties with Iran by naming a charge d’affaires, a diplomatic post that is one level below ambassador.

This past September, Iran and Britain appointed new ambassadors to each other's countries for the first time since the 2011 incident.