London, 24 Nov – Thousands have taken to the internet and social media to campaign for the release of a British charity worker falsely imprisoned in Iran, as media outlets began to report that she could face a second trial on new bogus propaganda charges as early as next month.
If convicted of these new ridiculous charges, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could be sentenced to an additional five years in the notorious Evin prison, according to her husband Richard Ratcliffe.
Ratcliffe told The Times: “We were hoping the case would disappear. [Nazinin] is angry and bewildered about what is going on. She said she thought she was going to be able to come home for Christmas but will now be in court in two weeks.
Our experience is that court cases have always been bad news. She has been declared guilty at every stage.”
This new court date was set in the wake of misleading comments by the UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “teaching journalism” in Iran when she was, in fact, on a family holiday for the Iranian New Year.
The holiday has been confirmed by both her husband and her employer, the Thompson-Reuters Foundation.
Johnson’s comments were widely criticised- with some members of the British parliament calling for his resignation- and he was forced to make a formal apology and correct himself that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had, as all evidence states, simply gone to visit her parents.
He said: “Of course I apologize for the distress, for the suffering that has been caused by the impression I gave that I believed she was there in a professional capacity. She was there on holiday.”
Johnson also said that he would be visiting Iran before the end of December and potentially taking Ratcliffe as well.
On Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr the hashtag #freeNazanin is used to express sympathy over the plight of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family- in particular, her three-year-old daughter Gabriella who is also not allowed to leave Iran.
They share media reports on her unjust imprisonment, statements from human rights organisations (like Amnesty International) calling for her release, and the official change.org petition.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was first arrested by the militant Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in April 2016, when attempting to fly back to the UK with the then one-year-old Gabriella.
The full details of her case have never been published by the Iranian Regime.
As Iran does not recognise dual nationality, they are refusing to allow her consular assistance from the UK.