Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe tells her husband 'I can't take it any more'

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe tells her husband 'I can't take it any more'

September 14, 2020

British prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe tells her husband ‘I can’t take it any more’ after new court case against her in Iran is postponed with no explanation

  • Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, has been detained in an Iranian prison since 2016
  • Her husband said she was expecting to be tried this Sunday on new charges
  • She was due to be released in the coming months but could stay for a year 

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe told her husband she ‘can’t take it any more’ after a new court case against her in Iran was postponed at short notice with no explanation.

The mother-of-one has been detained in Iran since 2016 when she was sentenced to five years in prison over allegations of plotting to overthrow the government.

She denies the allegations and was due to be released from prison in Iran in the coming months. 

But her husband Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was expecting to be tried on Sunday on new charges of ‘spreading propaganda against the regime’.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (pictured under house arrest in March) told her husband she ‘really can’t take it any more’ after a new court case against her in Iran was postponed at short notice with no explanation

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, was not taken to the Revolutionary Court and the case against her was postponed indefinitely.

If convicted, she could face a further year in prison, her lawyer Mahmoud Behzadi told CNN. 

She told her husband on Sunday morning: ‘People should not underestimate the level of stress.

‘People tell me to calm down. You don’t understand what it is like. Nothing is calm.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was expecting to be tried on Sunday on charges of ‘spreading propaganda against the regime’

‘And this morning I just wanted to scream out loud for 10 minutes or to bang my head against the wall – just to let it out.

‘I really can’t take it any more. They have all these games and I have no power in them.

‘Sometimes I am just full of anger ready to explode. I find myself hating everything in this life, including myself. There is no escape.

‘I would have rather it happened today. I do not sleep at all while the case is hanging over me.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was not taken to the Revolutionary Court and the case against her was postponed indefinitely. If convicted, she could face a further year in prison, her lawyer said

‘This morning I wanted to get it over with – to know where I stand now rather than continue with this whole stupid game.’

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was moved to house arrest in March, when thousands of prisoners were granted clemency and released from Iranian jails amid the Covid-19 outbreak

She was returned to court on Tuesday only months from her expected release date and told she would face a second trial.

Mr Ratcliffe said neither his wife nor her lawyer were given any explanation about why or when the trial might be rescheduled.

He said: ‘It is too early to say what the postponement means, except that this remains a game of cat and mouse between governments, with us living life as a piece of bait.

‘For Nazanin, the uncertainty remains deeply traumatic as we await the next move.

‘As we do so, the importance of the Government’s diplomatic protection grows.’

Amnesty International UK accused Iranian authorities of ‘playing cruel political games’ with Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and called on the UK Government to make it an ‘absolute priority’ to get her home for Christmas.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (pictured embracing her daughter Gabriella) has been detained in Iran since 2016, when she was sentenced to five years in prison over allegations of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokeswoman said: ‘We welcome the deferral of this groundless court hearing and call on Iran to make Nazanin’s release permanent so that she can return to her family in the UK.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week described the decision to bring new charges as ‘indefensible and unacceptable’, according to Downing Street.

Mr Ratcliffe said the new charges against his wife are further evidence she is being held for ‘political leverage’ amid a multimillion-pound dispute between the UK and Iran.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe previously said Sunday’s trial would hear charges of spreading anti-government propaganda

It has been claimed Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being held to force the UK to settle on a debt dating back to the 1970s when the then-shah of Iran paid the UK £400 million for 1,500 Chieftain tanks.

After he was toppled in 1979, the UK refused to deliver the tanks to the new Islamic republic and kept the money, despite British courts accepting it should be repaid.

Leanna Burnard, legal officer at Redress, which has acted as legal representatives for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her husband, said: ‘The complete absence of the rule of law in this case ensures that Nazanin is held in a constant state of stress, not knowing if she might be returned to prison or when she might see her husband and daughter again.

‘This amounts to psychological torture and places Iran in breach of its obligations under international human rights law.

‘The Iranian regime has been intermittently threatening Nazanin with a second trial for three years.

‘In denying her the most basic due process, Iran continues to flout its fundamental obligations under international law and Iranian law.’

She added: ‘Today’s events are further confirmation of what we have long known – that Nazanin is being held as a pawn for political leverage.

‘The UK Government promised to protect Nazanin’s rights when it granted her diplomatic protection last year.

‘It is critical that it maintain pressure on Iran and assert its right to attend the trial when it takes place.’

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