British woman jailed in Iran to appear in court

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, already serving time in Iran for sedition, to appear in court on December 10 on propaganda charges.

Elad Benari ,


A British-Iranian woman serving a five-year jail sentence in Tehran for alleged sedition will appear in court on December 10 on charges of spreading propaganda, her husband said Thursday, according to AFP.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) -- the media organization's philanthropic arm -- was told about the court date by the country's deputy prosecutor yesterday, Richard Ratcliffe said.

The new charge could result in a further lengthy sentence.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison this past January after being found guilty of trying to overthrow the government.

Her case has become highly politicized in Britain after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was accused of jeopardizing Zaghari-Ratcliffe's defense.

He told a parliamentary committee earlier this month that she had been training journalists in Iran before she was arrested -- a comment her employer and her family said was wrong.

Ratcliffe met with Johnson last week to lobby for his wife to get diplomatic protection, and for him to accompany the foreign secretary on an upcoming visit to Tehran.

The requests were under review, the foreign office said afterwards.

After being held in solitary confinement, she has been transferred to the women's quarters of Evin Prison in Tehran, where she has received visits from her daughter, who is living with grandparents in Iran after her passport was confiscated, according to AFP.

Last week it was reported that Britain is set to transfer more than 400 million pounds sterling ($530 million) to Iran to secure Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office denied the transfer was a ransom payment to secure Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release, and Iran’s Foreign Ministry also played down a possible link between the 400 million pounds and Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s situation.

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.

In September of 2016, Iran and Britain appointed new ambassadors to each other's countries for the first time since the 2011 incident.