British-Iranian prisoner of conscience Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces fresh criminal proceedings

Nazanin with baby Gabriella

Nazanin with baby Gabriella

A British-Iranian woman who was hoping to be released very soon from a Tehran prison has been told she could have her jail term extended by 16 years after new charges.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested by the IRGC in April 2016 at Tehran's airport as she was about to return to Britain with her 2-year-old daughter after a family visit.

He said she was not allowed to have a lawyer and that the new charges would remove her eligibility for early release next month, as allowed by Iranian law.

The country's Revolutionary Guard claimed she was plotting to overthrow the regime, an allegation Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe denies.

The family has, however, criticised the United Kingdom government saying it has failed to deal robustly with the Iranian regime over the saga.

The latest charges claim the Thomson Reuters Foundation worker joined organisations working to topple the Iranian system, and that she once protested outside the London embassy.

"It is not melodramatic to say what is happening to Nazanin is torture", said Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, adding that his wife would be eligible for early release as of November 2017. I love my country.

They tried to get her to confess that she trained and recruited spies, her family said. "I have just been a prisoner in the corner, enduring quietly".

"Threatening Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with more years behind bars after she was imprisoned without full due process is unjust and inhumane", said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

She added: "I am so exhausted".

The British Foreign Office said that it was "concerned following reports" about Zaghari-Ratcliffe's hearing. Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, which means they can not receive diplomatic protections such as consular visits.

The couple's north London MP Tulip Siddiq says the latest charges are an "outrage".

Mr Johnson broached the subject on the fringes of the UN General Assembly last month, and said progress in the UK-Iran relationship would depend to some extent on the resolution of the case.

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