Family warns of ‘ominous’ move as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe sent to psychiatric hospital under ‘tough’ guard

Kate Proctor

Fears are growing for the welfare of a jailed British-Iranian mother following her transfer to a mental health ward in Tehran.

Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, who has been in prison for three years, is believed to have been moved from Evin prison to Imam Khomeini hospital after a lengthy hunger strike.

Her husband Richard told Sky News the latest move felt “ominous”, adding that the family have not had any contact with her for 48 hours.

Her relatives have also expressed concern, saying it was “unusual for political prisoners to be guarded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, rather than regular prison guards during hospital treatment”.

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of imprisoned Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, outside the Iranian Embassy in London in June (EPA)

Mr Ratcliffe, who lives in London, said: “Yesterday her dad spent all day at the hospital trying to get access. It was clear she was being controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, or the ward was controlled.

“He wasn’t able to get in, wasn’t able to give her any food, get any questions on what she’s been treated with or what’s going on.

“It’s now 48 hours since we’ve had any contact with her. As time’s gone on that’s become more ominous.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at the end of a two-week family holiday in April 2016. She was jailed for five years in 2016 on spying charges, which she denies.

Mr Ratcliffe, who camped outside the Iranian embassy last month as he continued his campaign for his wife’s return, today called on Britain to step up its efforts.

He said: “The longer she is left isolated, particularly in the control of the RG, whose job it is to be tough — the more ominous it gets.

“We are telling the Government to put pressure ... [so] that someone can get in to see her and just check she’s okay.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter Gabriella, was taken to live with her grandparents and has not returned to the UK.