British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran back in court on new charge

Campaigners hold posters demanding the release of British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is serving a five-year jail sentence in Iran for alleged sedition. (AFP)
Updated 23 May 2018
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British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran back in court on new charge

LONDON: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran for two years, has appeared in court to face a new charge, her husband said on Monday.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was summoned to a court in Tehran on May 19, according to a statement from Richard Ratcliffe, who runs the Free Nazanin campaign group.
The charge is for “spreading propaganda against the regime,” which she denies, he said.
On Sunday, she was allowed to speak to the British ambassador to Tehran, Rob Macaire.
“This is the first time that she has been allowed any contact with the embassy in over two years,” he said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organization’s philanthropic arm — was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016.
She is serving a five-year jail sentence for alleged sedition — a charge she has always denied.
The couple have a three-year-old daughter Gabriella who is being looked after by Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s parents in Tehran.
She has asked for temporary release from prison next month to celebrate her daughter’s fourth birthday.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Iran in December last year to press for Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release on humanitarian grounds.


Child among three killed in Baghdad blast

Updated 14 August 2018
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Child among three killed in Baghdad blast

  • A source from the security services said that a woman and a child were among those killed
  • Authorities did not detail the cause of the blast and said an investigation would be launched

BAGHDAD: Three people were killed Tuesday in an explosion at a market in Baghdad, including a woman and child according to a security source.
The blast struck in the Shiite bastion of Sadr City, a sprawling district where authorities regularly carry out raids close to the busy market to seize illegal weapons.
“Three people were killed and four others injured in an explosion in a covered market near the Mreydi souk in Sadr City,” Baghdad’s military operations command said in a statement.
A source from the security services told AFP that a woman and a child were among those killed.
Authorities did not detail the cause of the blast and said an investigation would be launched.
The Mreydi souk is an important hub for illegal weapons sales and the area has seen years of violence since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In June, at least 16 people were killed and some 30 injured in an explosion at a house in the area where weapons were stored.
Sadr City is the former bastion of the Mahdi Army, which before being dissolved was blamed by Washington for killing US soldiers and thousands of Sunni Muslims.
The militia was led by Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose political alliance triumphed in this year’s parliamentary elections.
Violence has fallen in Iraq and particularly Baghdad, which suffered numerous extremist attacks, since the government declared victory over Daesh in December.
But despite government forces retaking all of Iraq’s towns and cities from Daesh, clandestine extremist cells remain present, analysts say.