Iran: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Appears in Court on New Charges | Courts news
Tehran court hears a new charge of “ anti-establishment propaganda ” against the Anglo-Iranian aid worker, who had previously been sentenced to five years for espionage.
Tehran, Iran – Dual Anglo-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was previously detained in Iran on espionage, appeared in a Tehran court to face a new charge of “propaganda against the establishment.”
The charge, which Iranian authorities had also tried to introduce twice previously, is due to his participation in a rally outside the Iranian embassy in London following the disputed results of the 2009 elections and a interview she gave to BBC Persian.
His lawyer Hojjat Kermani told Al Jazeera that the Zaghari-Ratcliffe hearing took place on Sunday, where the new charge was brought.
“The defense has also made its case, and we hope it will be exonerated,” he said.
He said the court ruling could be made public before Nowruz – New Years Day in Iran – March 20 or it could be postponed after the holidays.
Under Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran, “anyone who engages in any type of propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran or in favor of opposition groups and associations” can be sentenced to three months to one year of imprisonment.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the time of his arrest in 2016, had his ankle removed last week after his five-year sentence ended.
His family and the foundation, a charity operating independently of the Thomson Reuters media company and its subsidiary Reuters news agency, deny the espionage charges.
She had been under house arrest for a year after being expelled from Evin prison in Tehran due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case has led to a deterioration in relations between Iran and the UK, which has repeatedly called for his unconditional release and return.
Western rights groups and officials say his case is one of many cases of arbitrary arrests of foreigners by Iranian authorities who aim to use them for political purposes.
Iran, which does not formally recognize dual nationality status, denies engaging in this practice, claiming that the arrest of Iranian nationals is an internal matter decided by an independent judiciary.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard Ratcliffe said his case was linked to the fate of decades-long debt the UK government owes Iran, which Iranian authorities reject.
The UK has admitted it owed Iran £ 400million – now worth over $ 550million – for an order for Chieftain tanks before the 1979 Iranian revolution that was never fully delivered.