MOTHER AWAITS IRAN’S DE­CI­SION ON JAIL RE­TURN

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - PRESS AS­SO­CI­A­TION news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

T HE hus­band of im­pris­oned char­ity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Rat­cliffe should learn to­day whether she must re­turn to prison tonight af­ter her tem­po­rary re­lease.

There were hopes that the Bri­tish-Ira­nian mother’s leave could be ex­tended af­ter she was re­leased from Evin jail in Tehran on Thurs­day but, as of last night, the fam­ily were still wait­ing for news.

Speak­ing to Sky News yes­ter­day, her hus­band Richard Rat­cliffe said the fam­ily were “ner­vous” about hopes that her tem­po­rary re­lease could be ex­tended af­ter she had been re­united with her four-yearold daugh­ter Gabriella af­ter more than two years in jail.

He said yes­ter­day: “Her lawyer went to speak with the pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice yes­ter­day morn­ing and got told to come back for a de­ci­sion on Sun­day. He seemed very calm and very re­as­sur­ing al­though we’re ter­ri­bly ner­vous. As things stand she’ll have to go back to prison at the end of Sun­day.”

He said the three days spent with her fam­ily had left Mrs Zaghar­iRat­cliffe ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mixed emo­tions.

“Two days ago she was eu­phoric, a lot of the fam­ily came round on Fri­day and she was lovely and happy. On Satur­day she went to see Gabriella’s nurs­ery and went for a cof­fee with the fam­ily, but as time has gone on, she’s got pretty ner­vous.

“We were hop­ing for clar­ity on Satur­day, we’re cer­tainly hop­ing for it on Sun­day morn­ing, in a good way.”

He de­scribed her “pretty up and down”.

“On Fri­day night, she was pretty wor­ried. We’re on a jour­ney of baby steps, we’re glad this week­end has been a pos­i­tive one, hope­fully there’ll be an­other one soon.”

Mrs Zaghari-Rat­cliffe, from Hamp­stead, north Lon­don, was sen­tenced to five years in jail af­ter be­ing ac­cused of spy­ing by Tehran’s Is­lamist regime.

She de­nies the al­le­ga­tion and said she was on hol­i­day in Iran to al­low her daugh­ter to spend time with rel­a­tives there.

Gabriella has been stay­ing with fam­ily since Mrs Zaghari-Rat­cliffe, who works for the Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion, was de­tained at Imam Khome­ini air­port in April mood as 2016. Mr Rat­cliffe said his wife had seen me­dia cov­er­age about her tem­po­rary re­lease, and was pleased to see the Ira­nian am­bas­sador to the UK had tweeted a pic­ture of mother and daugh­ter as they were re­united.

Mr Rat­cliffe said: “It’s great for Nazanin to­day to be see­ing all the news at­ten­tion and re­alise how much care there is out there.”

Ms Zaghari-Rat­cliffe’s sis­ter-in­law Re­becca Jones, a GP liv­ing in Cardiff, has de­scribed the tem­po­rary re­lease as a step “to­wards the end of this night­mare”.

For­eign Sec­re­tary Jeremy Hunt said on Thurs­day the tem­po­rary re­lease was “ex­tremely pos­i­tive” and called on Ira­nian author­i­ties to al­low her to re­turn to her fam­ily in the UK.

Nazanin Zaghari-Rat­cliffe was re­united with her daugh­ter Gabriella last week

Richard Rat­cliffe

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