Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s Health Condition Has “Gotten Worse” in Iran’s Evin Prison
The health of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has severely declined since she was forcibly returned to Evin Prison in Iran after a brief furlough in August 2018.
“Her psychiatrist said that her condition had gotten worse because it had not been treated and because she had been subjected to extreme stress,” her husband Richard Ratcliffe told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on September 21, 2018.
“The prison clinic has instead said, ‘We have decided you are not taking your pills because you do not take them in front of us,” he added. “So, we are considering stopping you from seeing the psychiatrist.’”
Ratcliffe added that his wife, a 39-year-old Iranian and UK dual national serving a five-year prison sentence on unspecified national security charges, has been on anti-depressants and other pills since October 2017.
For the first time in more than two years, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was granted a three-day furlough in August 2018. Her health visibly declined after she was returned to the prison and began experiencing panic attacks, according to Ratcliffe.
“The panic attacks are now more frequent, and are in my view a direct consequence of her treatment by the Iranian authorities,” he told CHRI.
A former staff member of the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was accused of committing espionage and sentenced to five years in prison under unspecified national security charges later that year. But in July 2018, a judge admitted to her that she was being held as a bargaining chip by the Iranian government to use in its dealings with the UK.
“On Saturday, 21 July, the Iranian judge in charge of parole and early releases confirmed to Nazanin that she will not be released temporarily, given parole, or shown clemency on humanitarian grounds until the UK government’s debt is repaid to Iran,” said a statement by the Free Nazanin Campaign on July 23, 2018.
Iran claims the UK owes it 300 million pounds ($394 million USD) plus interest because Great Britain never fully honored a 1976 deal to deliver hundreds of Chieftain tanks to the Iranian military. Iran paid for the thanks before its 1979 revolution but never received them.
Following Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s return to prison on August 26, the UK’s new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted that Britain should “redouble efforts to find a way to get her home.”