Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe a victim of torture, says UK-Iran charity

A British-Iranian woman held in the Islamic Republic since 2016 is a victim of torture and needs urgent treatment for her mental health, a medical report sent by a charity to the UK government and seen by the BBC claims.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is suffering from major depression and PTSD after spending five years in an Iranian prison, according to the 77-page report.

The report, which was commissioned by human rights charity Redress, said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was interrogated for hours, often blindfolded, and kept in solitary confinement at the start of her sentence.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe reportedly told doctors she had developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and suffered hair loss during her stint in prison.

She also said she had been forced to listen to her female guard talking loudly to her child, despite being separated from her own daughter.

The report urged UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to class Zaghari-Ratcliffe as a victim of torture.

The BBC said neither Zaghari-Ratcliffe, nor her husband Richard, have felt able to read the report in full, but both have supported publishing its contents.

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It was prepared by two doctors following two virtual medical examinations with Zaghari-Ratcliffe in October and February.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation project manager was convicted in 2016 of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment.

She spent much of her sentence in Tehran's notorious Evin prison and was released last March during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic but kept under house arrest and barred from leaving the country.

Iranian authorities removed her ankle tag on 7 March, but she faces a new court hearing in Tehran on Sunday.

Her lawyer Hojjat Kermani said: "In this case, she is accused of propaganda against the Islamic Republic's system for participating in a rally in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009 and giving an interview to the BBC Persian TV channel at the same time."

He said he hoped that "this case will be closed at this stage, considering the previous investigation."

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release comes as Iran and the United States are trying to revive the nuclear agreement that former US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

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