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Iran’s Treatment of British Aid Worker ‘Amounts to Torture’
A photo of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is seen among candles during a fourth-birthday vigil for her daughter Gabriella opposite the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London, on June 11, 2019. (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Iran’s Treatment of British Aid Worker ‘Amounts to Torture’

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described Iran’s treatment of imprisoned British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe “amounts to torture.” He also said in an interview on Sunday with the BBC that it is difficult to argue with the characterization that Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being held state hostage by the Iranians. Raab also disputed the claim by an Iranian official that Britain would pay a debt of $553 million in order to secure her release.

Also on Sunday, the United States denied a report by Iran’s state-run broadcaster that a reupped nuclear deal would include a prisoner swap and the release of $7 billion frozen Iranian funds. Iran is known to be holding four Americans, and there are others missing in Iran.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced last month by Iran’s Revolutionary Court to one year in prison and a one-year ban on leaving the country after her prison term is finished, her attorney said.  She was sentenced on charges of “propaganda against the system.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, had spent nearly five years in an Iranian jail and another year under house arrest on charges of “propaganda against the system,” in part for attending a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in London and being interviewed by the BBC Persian network more than a decade ago. She was released from house arrest in March, but immediately called back to court over the new propaganda charges.

She was arrested in April 2016 while visiting her parents in Iran with her British-born daughter, Gabriella, who is now six years old. She has not seen her husband in person since 2016, according to the BBC. Her British passport has not been returned to her, according to the report. She was working as a project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity arm of the news agency, at the time of her arrest.

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