British govt accused of hurting case of woman jailed in Iran

This file photo taken on June 10, 2016 shows an undated handout image released by the Free Nazanin campaign in London on June 10, 2016 shows Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (L) posing for a photo with her daughter Gabriella. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2017

British govt accused of hurting case of woman jailed in Iran

LONDON: The husband of a British woman imprisoned in Iran said Sunday that his wife discovered lumps in her breasts and he urged the British government to step up efforts to free her.
Richard Ratcliffe said his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, had seen a doctor but was on “the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 38-year-old dual British-Iranian citizen, is serving a five-year sentence for plotting the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government.
Her husband spoke by phone Sunday to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has been under fire for making misleading statements about the case.
Earlier this month, Johnson told lawmakers that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “teaching people journalism” when she was detained last year. Her family and her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, insist she was on vacation taking her toddler daughter to meet relatives in Iran.
Johnson later apologized for his comment, but Iran’s state broadcaster said it was an implicit admission of guilt.
Ratcliffe said his wife had been brought to tears by “lies” about her case on Iranian television.
On Sunday, British Environment Secretary Michael Gove said “I don’t know” when asked what Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing in Iran.
Family and friends say the confusion has put Zaghari-Ratcliffe at risk of a longer prison sentence.
Johnson’s blunder has triggered calls for his resignation.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said Prime Minister Theresa May should fire Johnson for “embarrassing and undermining our country with his incompetence and colonial throwback views and putting our citizens at risk.”
Richard Ratcliffe said he did not think his wife’s case would be helped by resignations. He has urged Johnson to travel with him to Tehran to press for her release and said Sunday the foreign secretary was seriously considering the suggestion.

Saudi-led Coalition forces raid two caves used by Houthis to hide drones in Yemen

Updated 54 min 38 sec ago

Saudi-led Coalition forces raid two caves used by Houthis to hide drones in Yemen

  • The caves were located in Sanaa, capital of Yemen, says Coalition spokesman
  • Houthis had been launching rockets and drones toward Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Saudi-led Coalition forces have raided two caves being used by the Houthi militia in Yemen’s capital Sanaa to hide drones, the  military alliance's spokesman said on Sunday.

“The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition has conducted a military operation tonight to destroy two legitimate military targets; consisting of two caves used by the Houthi militia to store UAVs, and use them in terrorist operations,” Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malki said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

He said the raid was an extension of previous military operations in January and February that targeted the Iran-backed militia's drone network and capabilities and locations of foreign fighters helping the Houthis.

Al-Malki said the military operation was "in accordance with the customary international humanitarian law" and that "all precautionary measures and necessary action" were taken to spare civilians and avoid collateral damage.

The statement did not specify if the attacks were air strikes or by ground forces.

Earlier, Al-Arabiya TV reported raids on Houthi camps in Sanaa, including the Al-Dailami air base.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Coalition-backed Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a cease-fire and troop pullout deal for Hodeidah, the main entry point for most of Yemen’s imports and aid, at talks in Sweden in December. The pact was the first big breakthrough in efforts to end Yemen’s four-year war.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, which pits the Houthis against other Yemeni factions backed by the Saudi-led coalition and loyal to the government of Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Houthis ousted Hadi’s government from power in Sanaa in late 2014.

(With Reuters)