Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband fears his wife may be returned to her Iranian prison cell after a UK-based Iranian national was ordered back to the country this weekend.
Richard Ratcliffe, whose wife, 42, was released from the Evin prison in Tehran with a prison tag on March 17 amid the coronavirus pandemic, expressed his fears over her return after Aras Amiri was ordered back to jail.
Ms Amiri, a British Council employee with permanent residency in the UK, was arrested in March 2018 as she visited her sick grandmother in the capital Tehran and was given a ten-year sentence for ‘cultural infiltration’.
She was ordered back to jail this weekend after being furloughed on April 9 due to the coronavirus crisis.
This weekend the British Council employee Aras Amiri, who is an Iranian national, was ordered to return to her Iranian prison
Following the decision to send Ms Amiri back to prison, Mr Ratcliffe, told The Guardian, the move meant many like his wife would continue to remain in Iran’s ‘chess game’.
He said: ‘Our thoughts are with Aras and her family. Walking back into prison is no easy thing.
‘For Nazanin’s case, I am interpreting Aras Amiri’s return as a bad sign, that the wind is threatening to change. Others are also being summoned.
‘I take it as a signal to the UK that patience is not infinite, and that we all continue to be in their chess game.’
A message on the Amnesty International Twitter page read: ‘Fears are rising that Nazanin will be sent back to jail after Aras Amiri, a UK-based Iranian national, was ordered back at the weekend. This would be beyond heartbreaking.’
Last year, Ms Amiri, a Kingston University student who lived in London for more than a decade, appealed her sentence in a letter to the head of Iran’s justice department.
She claimed in her letter that she was arrested because she refused to cooperate with Iranian intelligence officials who wanted her to spy for them in Britain.
She said: ‘I directly rejected their offer for cooperation and told them that I can only work in my own field and nothing else.’
In April, Mr Ratcliffe said he and daughter Gabriella had been spending several hours a day on video calls with his wife during her temporary release from prison in Iran.
A message on Amnesty International’s Twitter page showed the growing fears Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe would be ordered back to jail