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UK-Iranian woman accused of spying loses appeal on 2nd Iran jail term

After 5 years in prison, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, sentenced to another year imprisonment for spreading ‘propaganda’

An undated file photo provided by the family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national detained in Iran. (Family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe via AP, File)
An undated file photo provided by the family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national detained in Iran. (Family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe via AP, File)

LONDON — British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has lost an appeal against a second jail term in Iran after spending more than five years in detention, her supporters said on Saturday.

The 43-year-old project manager, who lived in London with her husband and now seven-year-old daughter, has been held in Iran since 2016 and served a five-year sentence.

In late April, she was sentenced to another year’s imprisonment and banned from leaving the country for a further 12 months.

Nazanin’s Iranian lawyer was told in a phone call on Saturday that “the appeal on her second case failed,” according to the #Free Nazanin Twitter account run by her supporters.

The judge made the ruling without a court hearing, it said, adding that so far there is no summons date for her return to prison.

Iran has not issued any official statement, following its usual practice.

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of imprisoned British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and their seven year old daughter Gabriella pose for the media backdropped by the scaffolded Houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower, known as Big Ben, in Parliament Square, London, to mark the 2,000 days she has been detained in Iran, on Thursday, September 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who represents the constituency where Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband and daughter live, tweeted that she “could now be returned to prison at any time.”

The MP urged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “act now to #Free Nazanin.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is one of a number of Western passport holders being held by Iran in what rights groups condemn as a policy of hostage-taking aimed at winning concessions from foreign powers.

The project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the data firm’s philanthropic arm, was arrested in April 2016 while visiting family.

She was convicted of plotting to overthrow the regime, a charge she strenuously denied.

She completed that sentence in March this year, only to be slapped with a fresh one-year jail term for “propaganda against the system.”

A young girl looks at flowers alongside a giant Mother’s Day card left on the steps of the Iranian Embassy for British charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, in Knightsbridge, London, on March 31, 2019. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

The United Kingdom’s then-foreign minister Dominic Raab condemned the second sentence, saying that Iran’s treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe amounted to torture and she was being held unlawfully.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been living with her parents in Tehran while her appeal was underway, barred from leaving the country.

Her husband and daughter last month took part in a protest organized by Amnesty International near the Houses of Parliament to mark her 2,000th day in detention.

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