First Published: 2017-10-11

Protests in London demand release of two citizens in Iran
Protest of 50 people led through London streets by husband of British-Iranian woman sentenced to five years prison in Iran for participating in anti-regime demonstrations in 2009.
Middle East Online

Nazanin now faces a further 16 years behind bars.

LONDON - The husband of a British-Iranian woman detained in Iran on Wednesday led a protest in London demanding the release of his wife and another British citizen held in the Middle Eastern state.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 38-year-old mother, had already been sentenced to five years in prison for participating in anti-regime demonstrations in 2009, and last week was hit with further charges, carrying a possible 16-year prison term.

"We were very surprised," husband Richard Ratcliffe said of the new charges.

"We had been getting some positive noises in the past few weeks, she has been told she would be temporarily released and would just stay at home until she is allowed to come back to the UK," he said at the protest attended by around 50 Amnesty activists.

His wife was "very shocked" by the decision, which left her family "devastated," he added.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday tweeted that he had held talks with Vice President of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, where he had "underlined serious concern for dual national detainees" including Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Her original five-year sentence was upheld on appeal in April and she now faces a further 16 years behind bars.

"These charges are linked to her work at BBC Media Action and at the Thomson Reuters Foundation," said Thomson Reuters Foundation director Monique Villa.

"The accusation states that her charity work was a screen to overthrow the Iranian regime," she added.

"This is a complete invention as the Thomson Reuters Foundation doesn't work in Iran and has no programme or dealings with Iran."

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran's airport on April 3, 2016, after visiting her family in Iran with daughter, Gabriella, who was born in Britain and is now three-years old.

After being held in solitary confinement, she was transferred to the women's quarters of Evin Prison in Tehran on December 26.

She has since been visited by her daughter, whose British passport was confiscated and who is now living with her grandparents in Iran.

The protesters also demanded the release of detainee Kamal Foroughi, 78, who has been held since 2011 and is currently serving a seven-year term after being convicted on espionage charges.

"We have been lobbying the UK government to do more," for both detainees, Kathy Voss, a campaigner for Amnesty International, said.

"At the moment they have expressed their concerns. But they have to say publicly that they should be released," she added.


Qatar says Gulf crisis hindering fight against IS

Khamenei vows to 'shred' nuclear deal if US pulls out

Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation

Bahrain accuses Iran of harbouring 160 'terrorists'

Jobless Tunisians seek new migration routes to Europe

EU says Israeli settlements illegal under international law

Kurdish independence goes from dream to dust

Female commander more than just poster girl for Raqa victory

Saudi airline flies to Baghdad for first time in 27 years

Wanted Dead: France's approach to IS jihadists

Saudi Arabia to monitor interpretations of prophet's sayings

Italy busts Libyan diesel smugglers

Fate of IS fighters in Raqa uncertain

Turkish Red Crescent concerned by Idlib humanitarian ‘drama’

US firm to build solar plants in Gaza

Ghost city Raqa scanned for survivors, bombs

Qatar emir calls for talks on visit to Indonesia

Iraq calls on BP to help develop Kirkuk oil

Israeli forces raid Palestinian media offices linked to Hamas

French parliament is set to pass new anti-terror law

Israel says no to Palestine talks until Hamas disarms

IS territory down to almost 10% of 2014 ‘caliphate’

Over 3000 civilians flee Raqa under deal with jihadists

Ideology and objectives clash at Deir Ezzor

Erdogan gets Polish backing on Turkey's EU bid

Iranian guards commander killed in Syria

Fitch Ratings says threat to Qatar liquidity fading

Iran warns EU against new nuclear deal conditions

Turkey activists face trial next week under terror charges

Netanyahu presses Russian defence minister on Iran

US-backed forces announce Raqa recapture

Hollande slams Trump's hardline stance on Iran nuclear deal

Iraq takes control of two key Kirkuk oil fields

US-backed forces retake Raqa state hospital

Divided Iraq tests limited US influence

New UN envoy in Rabat to restart talks on WSahara

Iraqi forces seize Kirkuk governor's office

Iraqi forces seize airport, oil field from Kurds

Saudi Arabia sets conditions to role in Syria reconstruction

In tougher approach, US offers multimillion-dollar reward for Hezbollah operatives

EU ministers join forces in support of Iran deal

Batteries, tape to thank for defeating jihadists in Raqa

Palestinian Authority top official visits Gaza

Israel strikes Syrian anti-aircraft battery in response to shots

Qatar starts to feel pinch from sanctions