British Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been released from a prison on furlough in Iran for three days, according to campaigners.
It comes almost two years after she was convicted for spying against the Iranian regime and sentenced to five years behind bars. Yet the 40-year-old has always maintained her innocence.
The Free Nazanin campaign confirmed Thursday that the mother-of-one is currently staying with family in the city of Damavand but cannot do interviews, visit a foreign embassy or leave the country as conditions of her release.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all when it was mentioned two weeks ago. I didn’t tell Gabriella or for a long time my mum — so if it didn’t happen I would be the only one to suffer.” Nazanin is quoted as saying in a press release.
“I was so emotional to see my grandmother today. I cried so much. I felt so overwhelmed. My dad’s home is not my home — but it is so much better than prison.”
Describing the reaction of her fellow cellmates in Evin prison, she says: “People in the ward were so excited — they sang songs and danced. I baked for them in celebration. It felt like this really could be the beginning of the end.”
Four-year-old Gabriella was just 22 months old when her mother Nazanin was detained in April 2016 while visiting family in Tehran.
The project manager for the Thomson Reuters Foundation was about to board a flight home to the UK with her daughter when she was arrested on security charges at Khomeini Airport in Tehran.
She was later accused of plotting to overthrow the government, charges she denies.
Gabriella, who is solely British, had her passport confiscated and has remained in the care of her maternal parents in Iran, while Nazanin's husband Richard Ratcliffe stayed behind in their North London home.