Iran rejects ‘conditional release’ for Iranian-British woman

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has been leading a campaign to try to win his wife’s release from prison. (AFP/File)
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Updated 22 December 2019

Iran rejects ‘conditional release’ for Iranian-British woman

  • In England, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has been leading a campaign to try to win his wife’s release from prison
  • Iran has also detained at least one other Iranian-British national

TEHRAN: The lawyer of an Iranian-British woman convicted on spying charges in Iran has asked that she be released after serving half of her sentence, a request that was immediately rejected by the Tehran prosecutors’ office, the state IRNA news agency reported Sunday.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was sentenced to five years for allegedly planning the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government while traveling with her young daughter in Iran at the time. She was was arrested in April 2016. Her sentence has been widely criticized and her family has denied all the allegations against her.
The report by IRNA quoted her lawyer, Mahmoud Behzadi Rad, as saying that he had submitted a request for what Iran’s judiciary calls “conditional release” — when a convict has served half his or her sentence, the person can apply for such a release and the courts have the power to grant it for “good behavior”.
“According to the law, she is entitled to apply for a conditional release,” the lawyer said.
IRNA did not say why the request was denied. Behzadi Rad said he had applied for a conditional release for another of his clients, prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi who is serving a 10-year sentence. Behzadi Rad is her lawyer, too. The request for her release was also denied, he said.
The lawyer also said that Zaghari-Ratcliffe has had several psychiatric evaluations recently while in prison but did not elaborate on her condition or the state of her health.
In England, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has been leading a campaign to try to win his wife’s release from prison. British officials are also calling for her release.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe went on a 15-day hunger strike in June, to call attention to her plight. In July, she was moved to the mental health ward of Imam Khomeini hospital under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The Free Nazanin Campaign said in a statement at the time that it does not know what treatment she is receiving or how long she is expected to remain in the hospital.
Iran has also detained at least one other Iranian-British national, anthropologist Kameel Ahmady, who has been accused of spying and of links to foreign intelligence agencies.
Iran does not recognize dual nationality for its citizens.


Egypt receives new batch of Russian railroad cars

Updated 52 min 3 sec ago

Egypt receives new batch of Russian railroad cars

CAIRO: Egyptian Minister of Transport Kamel Al-Wazir announced that the Alexandria Port would be receiving a new batch of 22 passenger railroad cars, bringing the total of Russian railroad cars so far to 103 vehicles, as part of a deal to manufacture and supply 1,300 new passenger railroad cars.

The deal, signed between the Egyptian Railways Authority and Russian-Hungarian company Transmashholding, is the largest in the history of Egypt’s railways, with a value of €1.16 billion ($1.8 billion).

Al-Wazir confirmed that the 22 railroad cars that arrived are third-class vehicles with dynamic ventilation.

The deal includes 800 air-conditioned vehicles, 500 third-class air-conditioned vehicles (a new service offered to passengers for the first time in the history of Egyptian railways), 180 second-class vehicles, 90 first-class vehicles, 30 air-conditioned buffet vehicles and 500 dynamic ventilated third-class vehicles.

Al-Wazir indicated that 35 vehicles have arrived during the current month, which is the average monthly supply agreed upon with the manufacturer, pointing out that this rate enables the railway authority to form three new trains consisting of tractors and all-new cars that are entered monthly to become part of the line.

Al-Wazir said that the deal contributes to raising the efficiency of the Egyptian railways’ daily operations and schedules. This coincides with the Egyptian Railway Authority’s projects to modernize infrastructure, including signaling systems, crossings, stations and other aspects.

All these projects that the ministry implemented contributed to increasing safety and security in train operations and improving the level of service.

Egypt is seeking to develop its railways, the second oldest in the world, after witnessing unfortunate accidents during the past two decades.

Over the past few years, railways in Egypt have undergone major development, represented by the modernization of the fleet of tractors and vehicles of various classes and the maintenance of trains and old railways.

According to official data, Egypt spent EGP 40 billion ($2.5 billion) on railway development projects during the past six years. Projects at a cost of EGP 86 billion are currently under way, and there is a plan to start implementing others at a cost of EGP 55 billion.