Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sent back to Evin Prison on 21 July after six days of stay at the Psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital. She was chained to the bed and the IRGC intelligence branch was guarding her during her medical stay.
“Nazanin has been returned from a psychiatric hospital, and is now back in Evin prison,” the Free Nazanin Campaign, said in a statement on Monday 22nd of July.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was transferred from Evin prison to the psychiatric ward on Monday 15th of July; she was upset about this move and expressed concerns to her mother that the authorities have not agreed to not chain her.
During her stay at the hospital, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was held incommunicado for six days and only allowed to see her mother and daughter on the last day. She also spoke to her husband Richard Ratcliffe on the phone.
The IRGC guards did not allow Zaghari-Ratcliffe to have visits from her father and lawyer.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was kept chained to the hospital bed. She was also handcuffed the whole time. Four male guards outside of her door and a female guard inside her room were monitoring her 24/7. All of Zaghari-Ratcliffe communications with medical staff and caregivers were supervised by the security forces.
She has told her family that the hospital stay was traumatic and she is “relieved” to be back in prison: “being alone makes you appreciate the ward.”
In a statement that Richard Ratcliffe has shared with the media, Nazanin is quoted describing the experience as “proper torture:”
“I am all right, broken, but I survived. a did all they could to me – handcuffs, ankle cuffs, in a private room 2x3m, with thick curtains, and the door closed all the time. I wasn’t allowed to leave the room, as I was chained to the bed. It was proper torture.”
The original order was for 10 days of hospital stay but Zaghari-Ratcliffe says she insisted that she will be sent back to prison because of this stressful and traumatic experience. She even threatened to harm herself:
“It was tough, and I was struggling. But I am glad I survived. The original order was for 10 days. I managed to survive for 6.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe transfer to the hospital coincides with a dispute between the UK and Iran over oil tankers.
The Brtish owned Stena Impero ship was seized by the IRGC forces in the Strait on Friday 19th of July. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been in contact with his Iranian counterpart to secure a diplomatic solution.
The statement by Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband confirms that her transfer back to prison is “followed” by a phone call on 20 July between UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif. In this conversation which was mainly about the escalation of tensions related to Stena Impero, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was brought up and Zarif promised that he will ensure family visits could be resumed.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s lawyer is to press the Health Commission of the Iranian judiciary to rule her not fit to stay in prison so that she can be granted medical furlough or unconditional release. Previous attempts to secure her release by the lawyer have failed.