Sun, Jun 12, 2016 - Page 6 News List

Tehran urged to release British-Iranian mother

MYSTERY:A Thomson Reuters Foundation official said that the charity does not work with Iran so she has no idea why the worker is being detained

AFP, LONDON

The husband of an Iranian-British charity worker who has been held without charge in Iran since April on Friday called for her release at a rally outside the Iranian embassy in London.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, was arrested at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport on April 3 as she prepared to return to Britain with the couple’s daughter, Gabriella, after visiting family in Iran, Richard Ratcliffe said.

Gabriella, who yesterday turned two years old, was born in Britain and has a British passport, which was confiscated by the Iranian authorities, leaving her stranded with her grandparents in Iran.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who spent the first 45 days in solitary confinement, was later transferred to Karman Prison, 1,000km from Tehran, although Ratcliffe said the family had not received “any news since Sunday [last week].”

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it has raised the case “repeatedly and at the highest levels,” and would continue to do so at “every available opportunity.”

British Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Tobias Ellwood had met the family to reassure them that diplomats would “continue to do all we can on this case,” a ministry spokesman said.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity organization coordinating training programs for journalists around the world.

“She has nothing to do with Iran in her work and the foundation does not work with Iran anyway, so we have no idea why she has been detained for more than two months, first in isolation and then in a common cell,” Thomson Reuters Foundation chief executive officer Monique Villa said. “Now we do not know, because she seems to have disappeared from where she was.”

Ratcliffe led the celebrations for his daughter’s birthday, talking to her on Skype, leading a mass singalong of Happy Birthday and placing a giant card and balloons on the steps of the embassy. The case of 76-year-old Iranian-British man Kamal Foroughi was also brought up at the rally by his son, Kamran.

Foroughi was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to eight years in prison on spying charges, having spent two years in detention without charge.

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