Iran confirms upholding British-Iranian's 5-year sentence

AFP , Wednesday 26 Apr 2017

Iran confirmed Wednesday upholding a five-year sentence for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman accused of sedition who has been in jail in the country for more than a year.

"She had appealed and the appeals court reviewed her request," Tasnim news agency quoted Tehran province's justice chief Gholam Hossein Esmaeili as saying.

"The appeals court decided that the initial verdict was true and justified, so it was upheld."

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's British husband said on Monday that the jail term she received in September for participating in anti-regime protests in 2009 had been upheld.

The family was told the sentence was final as they had already lost an initial appeal in January.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3, 2016, after visiting family in Iran with her British-born daughter Gabriella.

At the time of arrest, authorities confiscated her daughter's British passport. The girl has been living with her grandparents in Iran since her mother's arrest.

Iran does not recognise dual-citizenship, meaning that the accused are deprived of diplomatic counsel.

Britain's foreign ministry said it was "deeply concerned" by reports the sentence had been upheld and said Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Minister Boris Johnson had raised the case with their Iranian counterparts.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards accused Zaghari-Ratcliffe of having taken part in the "sedition movement" of widespread protests that followed the 2009 re-election of former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, charges which she denies.

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