Jailed British-Iranian aid worker moved to hospital psychiatric ward

LONDON: Jailed British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (pictured) has been transferred from prison to a hospital psychiatric ward, the campaign group seeking to free her said on Wednesday.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was moved from Tehran’s Evin prison to the psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital in the capital, the Free Nazanin Campaign, which is led by Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard Ratcliffe, said in a statement.
She was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit and was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment.
Her family and the Foundation, a charity organisation that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and Reuters News, deny the charge.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May urged Tehran to allow family members to visit Zaghari-Ratcliffe. “We are extremely concerned about Nazanin’s welfare and call for her immediate release,” the spokesman said. “And we urge Iran to allow family members to visit her and check on her care.” Last month Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her husband ended a two-week hunger strike designed to push for her release and raise the profile of her case.
The Free Nazanin Campaign said Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s father visited the hospital on Tuesday, and confirmed that she is being held there under the control of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
It said he was denied access to see her despite waiting for several hours.
“This is unusual. She has now been kept isolated from family or legal contact under IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps)control for over 36 hours,” the campaign group said.It said her father was unable to establish what treatment she is receiving or the IRGC’s agenda, and added it was not known how long she will be held in the hospital.
UK Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison said Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband had told him that she was moved to the ward on Monday.
“It would be indeed cruel to deny this lady, in a psychiatric ward of a public hospital, access to her family. That must happen immediately,” Murrison told parliament.Iran The detention conditions Zaghari-Ratcliffe has described to her family over the phone “are completely contrary to international norms,” he added.
A psychiatrist recently recommended she be “instantly hospitalised due to her sharp deterioration since her previous meeting, and the risk of her taking matters into her own hands”, the campaign group said.
The 40-year-old recently ended a 15-day hunger strike. “I was healthy and happy when I came to Iran to see my parents,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been quoted as saying by her family.
“Three-and-a-bit years later and I am admitted to a mental health clinic. Look at me now — I ended up in an asylum. It should be an embarrassment.”
Last month Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said Zaghari-Ratcliffe will serve out her full sentence, dismissing a call for her release by a British minister visiting Tehran. Other Iranian dual nationals jailed in Iran include Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer. Both are serving 10-year sentences for espionage in a case that has outraged Washington.
Princeton University researcher Chinese-American Xiyue Wang is serving a 10-year sentence for espionage. US national Michael White was also sentenced to 10 years this year. — Agencies