GENEVA (20 October 2017) – United Nations human rights experts* have appealed to Iran to immediately release a jailed dual British-Iranian citizen who is now facing fresh charges, saying they have “grave” concerns for her welfare.
Ms. 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. “These are flagrant violations of Iran’s obligations under international law.”
They added: “We are gravely concerned over the mental and physical impact that the new charges have had on Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe. We call on the Iranian authorities to release her at once and to guarantee her physical and psychological wellbeing.”
Last week, Ms. 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.
The experts say they are also concerned that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s application for temporary release, granted to prisoners after they serve a sixth of their sentence, has been blocked and her family was required to pay bail for the new charges to prevent her being transferred to solitary confinement.
“We remain in dialogue with the Iranian authorities regarding Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s situation,” the experts said.
They have already asked Iran for her freedom on a number of occasions, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has also formally called for her immediate release in its Opinion 28/2016 adopted in August 2016.
(*) The experts: Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, current Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Ms. Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, Country Page: Iran
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