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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to complete jail term – but will she now be released?

West Hampstead charity worker has served the five years in prison that she was sentenced to

03 March, 2021 — By Tom Foot

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

NAZANIN Zaghari-Ratcliffe – the charity worker from West Hampstead locked up in Iran on vague spying charges – will have completed her five years sentence on Sunday.

All campaigns for her release – and an international spotlight on the case – were unable to bring her back home.

Now, her husband, Richard, and six-year-old daughter, Gabriella, are waiting anxiously to see if she will at last walk Mr Ratcliffe, whose own campaigns included a hunger strike outside the Iranian embassy in London, said: “If she is not home on March 8, that is straightforward hostage taking. It’s a blot on British diplomacy and clearly Iran hostage-taking is outrageous.”

Her case has not been helped, campaigners have always warned, by an ongoing trade dispute between the UK and Iran.

She was held at Tehran Airport after trying to return home from a family holiday.

In a film shot ahead of the weekend, Mr Ratcliffe said: “Gabriella has been treating it like an advent calendar. She has been counting down the days. She’s had a lot of experience of grown-ups promising her mummy is coming home.”

Comedian Victoria Coren from Belsize Park is among several supporters to read poems and stories for Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe in a series of online films being re­leased each day in solid­arity in the build up to Sunday.

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq says she has continued to push to get Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe home. Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, added: “Nazanin should never have been jailed in the first place, but the important thing now is that she’s released very soon and is immediately able to be reunited with her husband and daughter .”

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