Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has ankle tag removed but faces new case, MP says

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has had her ankle tag removed by Iranian authorities after serving a five-year sentence, but faces a fresh court hearing next week on separate charges, her constituency MP has said.

The British-Iranian aid worker was sentenced in 2016 for plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, charges she has always denied.

Tulip Siddiq, the Labour MP for the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency where Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe‘s family live, said she had spoken to her family.

She said: “Thankfully her ankle tag has been removed. Her first trip will be to see her grandmother.”

But Ms Siddiq added: “Less positive – she has been summoned once again to court next Sunday.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe‘s lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, reportedly told Iranian website Emtedad on Sunday that his client had been freed.

“She was pardoned by Iran’s Supreme Leader last year, but spent the last year of her term under house arrest with electronic shackles tied to her feet,” Mr Kermani told the website.

“Now they’re cast off. She has been freed.”

Mr Kermani was quoted as saying that “a hearing for Zaghari’s second case has been scheduled at branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran”.

Iran’s judiciary officials have yet to comment on the release.

Prior to her arrest, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe lived in London with her husband and worked as a project manager for the charity Thomson Reuters Foundation.

She was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport while travelling with her young daughter, Gabriella, to celebrate the country’s new year and to visit her parents in 2016.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was held in solitary confinement in an unknown location in Kerman Province, 1,000km south of Tehran.

The 42-year-old has been out of prison since last spring due to the coronavirus crisis, but has been under house arrest at her parents’ home in Tehran.

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