United Nations human rights experts have appealed to Iran to immediately release a jailed British-Iranian citizen, who is now facing fresh charges, and expressed “grave” concerns for her welfare.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is already serving a five-year term in Tehran’s Evin Prison and could face an additional 16 years of imprisonment if convicted on the new charges.
“We consider that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been arbitrarily deprived of her liberty and that her right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal has been violated,” the experts said in a news release issued Friday by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Last week, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken alone to court to hear the new charges against her and was not allowed access to a lawyer during the hearing. Her lawyer had also not been informed of the new charges.
“We are gravely concerned over the mental and physical impact that the new charges have had on Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe,” the experts said, calling on the Iranian authorities to release her at once and guarantee her physical and psychological well-being.
The experts are José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, current Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran.