Saturday 18 November 2017

Jailed Briton's husband urges ministers not to 'muddy' efforts to free her

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire

Joe Watts

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband has written to the British Foreign Office after yet another cabinet minister's words threatened to "muddy" attempts to free his imprisoned wife from an Iranian jail.

Richard Ratcliffe urged officials to remind cabinet ministers that the British government's official position on his wife's case is that she was in Iran on holiday, after Michael Gove said he did not know why she was there when she was arrested.

After speaking to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the phone, he said he hoped his wife may be granted diplomatic immunity, easing her way back home.

Mr Johnson himself sparked controversy after incorrectly telling MPs that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been in Iran teaching journalists, which led to her being hauled in front of an Iranian court and being threatened with an extra five years in jail.

Plotting

When Mr Gove was asked why she was in Iran when she was arrested and accused of plotting to overthrow the country's government, he broke from the official line that she was there on holiday, to instead say he did not know.

Mr Ratcliffe told BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme: "I picked up from social media the outrage, and obviously my cousins were all very indignant at it not being very clear what [Mr Gove was saying] she was doing." He said he believes Mr Gove had simply been "clumsy".

Irish Independent

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