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Iranian court upholds new 1-year sentence for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

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By AP
Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of imprisoned British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and their seven year old daughter Gabriella in London, September 2021.
Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of imprisoned British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and their seven year old daughter Gabriella in London, September 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Matt Dunham

An Iranian appeals court has upheld a verdict sentencing an Iranian-British woman long held in Tehran to another year in prison, her lawyer said on Saturday.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has already served a five-year prison sentence in the Islamic Republic. Her lawyer Hojjat Kermani told The Associated Press that the appeals court upheld a verdict issued earlier this year sentencing her to another year.

The verdict additionally includes a one-year travel ban abroad, meaning she cannot leave Iran to join her family for nearly two years.

In April, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced for allegedly spreading “propaganda against the system” when she participated in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.

Kermani said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “concerned” when he informed her about the appeals court decision. He said his client is in touch with her family.

State media in Iran did not immediately acknowledge the ruling, apparently issued after a closed-door hearing.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of plotting the overthrow of Iran’s government, a charge that she, her supporters and rights groups deny. While employed at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency, she was taken into custody at the Tehran airport in April 2016 as she was returning home to Britain after visiting family.

Rights groups accuse Iran of holding dual-nationals as bargaining chips for money or influence in negotiations with the West, something Tehran denies. Iran does not recognise dual nationalities, so detainees like Zaghari-Ratcliffe cannot receive consular assistance.

Authorities furloughed Zaghari-Ratcliffe from prison because of the surging coronavirus pandemic and she has been restricted to her parents’ Tehran home since.