Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British aid-worker who has been imprisoned in Iran for two-and-half years for over accusations that she was plotting to “overthrow” the country’s government, has abruptly and unexpectedly been granted a three-day release from prison. According to the Free Nazanin campaign, she was given just 10 minutes of notice ahead of her release on Thursday morning, but was able to contact her brother by crossing a bridge nearby the prison and borrowing a phone from another family waiting for the release of an inmate. After being picked up in a car by her brother, the two reconvened with her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and travelled together to Damavand to meet the rest of the family and celebrate the Islamic festival of Eid.
In a statement issued by the campaign, Zaghari-Ratcliffe said she “wasn’t expecting” to be released, but that she was overjoyed to finally be able to see her family once more.
“It will be just awesome for Gabriella to have mummy home finally,” she said, referring to her now 4-year-old daughter. “We can play with her dolls house and she can show me her toys.The thought of brushing her hair, and giving her a bath; of being able to take her to the park, and feed her, and sleep next to her — it just kills me. It is still so hard to believe.
“I was so emotional to see my grandmother today. I cried so much. I felt so overwhelmed. It felt like this really could be the beginning of the end.”
Since Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years imprisonment in 2016, the aid worker has at times had to endure solitary confinement and health complications that reportedly left her “virtually unable to walk.” Her husband, Richard, has suggested that her imprisonment was part of a bizarre form of payback for the U.K.’s refusal to pay a 40-year-old arms debt and has repeatedly criticized the British government for not having his “family’s best interest at heart.” While the reasons for Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s temporary release are unknown, some have credited new British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, while others have suggested that the move was meant as an act of charity to allow her to enjoy the Islamic holiday. Below, watch a clip of Richard discussing how happy Nazanin was upon being released from prison after more than two years.
Richard Ratcliffe tells ITV News that his wife Nazanin has been enjoying ‘normal’ family life after she was temporarily released from an Iran jail after two years https://t.co/1xqADjxMsI pic.twitter.com/l0RQjTtu0B
— ITV News (@itvnews) August 23, 2018
Read the full story at BBC News.