Imprisoned Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being mentally “tortured” by Iranian officials ahead of her court battle on Sunday, her husband has claimed.
A judge in Tehran will decide whether she should face new propaganda charges just seven days after the end of her last five-year term on espionage – a charge she has always denied.
Husband Richard Ratcliffe said tonight, “The insecurity is excruciating, we are talking about indefinite detention. She fears that she will never get out.
“Fear is not brought back to normal prison, fear is brought back to torture.”
The helper Nazanin, who has dual British / Iranian citizenship, was detained in Tehran in 2016 while visiting her parents with daughter Gabriella.
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The 43-year-old was accused of plotting to overthrow the regime.
This week, Nazanin told independent investigators that she was facing execution and torture of her family.
She also said she was chained and blindfolded in prison – and suffered from sensory and sleep deprivation.
And she said she was interrogated in solitary confinement for nine hours and bombarded with bright lights and roaring televisions.
Richard says Nazanin, who spent a week in a bedside mental hospital in 2018, remained suicidal.
She has been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Richard said, “In some places she has felt suicidal and thought the only way to protect her family is to be gone.
“She can’t control her fear. She wakes up at night with uncontrollable pain and a really fast heartbeat.
“I don’t think the UK government has done almost enough good work to protect them or the others from torture or trauma.”
Richard has asked British Ambassador Rob Macaire to accompany Nazanin to court, believing she is a “negotiator” in a £ 400 million dispute between Britain and Iran.
He said, “The Iranians hold the threat over Nazanin while they decide whether or not to get the money from the British.” And if not, we’ll get the penalty. “
This week Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the Iranian President for the “immediate release” of Nazanin. The Defense Ministry and the Foreign Office are reportedly at odds over a “debt” from a 1970s arms deal.
The then-Shah of Iran ordered and paid for 1,750 tanks and support vehicles from a company owned by the Department of Defense – but the deal was halted after he was deposed and Britain kept the money. The Ministry of Defense is said to fear that the money will go to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Former Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt has likened the debt to “ransom” for Nazanin.
Britain and Iran deny that there is a link between the two issues – but the hardliners of the Iranian regime reportedly expect the deal to be settled before Nazanin is freed.