Imprisoned Iranian-British dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is charged with espionage related charges has been transferred from prison to a psychiatric facility in Tehran according to a press release by the Free Nazanin campaign lead by her husband.
Richard Ratcliffe, has confirmed that his wife has been transferred to the psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital in Tehran on Monday 15 July 2019 and is being held there without any contact with her family or lawyer.
The family has expressed concerns because of over-involvement of security agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Their statement says: “It is unusual for political prisoners to be guarded by the IRGC rather than regular prison guards during hospital treatment.”
According to Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s father who has tried to visit her at the hospital, the whole psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital is in the control of IRGC agents. They have not allowed the father to visit her daughter at the hospital. They have also not allowed him to use the hospital’s internal phone to speak to Nazanin.
On the morning of 15 July, before being taken to the hospital Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe called her family and expressed concerns that the prison authorities are forcing her to wear handcuffs and shackles.
She also said it is becoming harder and harder for her to continue the prison life that has been forced on her.
“I was healthy and happy when I came to Iran to see my parents… Three and a bit years later and I am admitted to a mental health clinic,” said Zaghari-Ratcliffe prior to her hospitalization, according to a statement by the Free Nazanin campaign.
Nazanin’s father has requested that a physician who two months ago requested that she would be taken to a hospital, be allowed to examine Nazanim. It is not yet clear if the IRGC security agents guarding Zaghari-Ratcliffe at the hospital will grant access to this physician.
The Zagharei and Ratcliffes are concerned because it is not clear what course of treatment Nazanin is being subject to. They also do not know what cocktails of medications she has been prescribed.
Nazanin’s family has asked the British Embassy to ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran to allow the family to visit Nazanin in the hospital. This request has been denied so far.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation was sentenced to five years imprisonment in 2016. She has been accused of plotting against the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as other national security-related charges. She has denied all charges against her.
Nazanin was arrested three years ago when attempting to return from Iran to the UK after a family visit. She has been separated from Gabriella, her four-year-old daughter. During her time in jail, her young daughter has not been allowed to leave Iran to return to her father in the UK.