Jailed UK-Iranian ‘in deep distress’

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
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Updated 10 March 2020

Jailed UK-Iranian ‘in deep distress’

  • Authorities renege on promise of temporary release of Zaghari-Ratcliffe over virus fears, family says

LONDON: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran, has been caused deep distress after a promise of temporary release was broken by authorities, and she has still not been tested for coronavirus, her family have said.

Fears of the virus spreading rapidly in Iranian prisons prompted the government to temporarily release some inmates as a containment measure. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was told last week that her release was imminent as part of these precautions, only to later be informed that she would not in fact be released.
She had packed her bags and was ready to leave the prison last Wednesday, before authorities reversed their decision over the weekend, The Guardian reported.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe raised fears of her having coronavirus last week, and has since accused Iranian authorities of playing mind games.
In a statement released by The Free Nazanin Campaign, Ratcliffe said: “(The doctor) confirmed to her that her symptoms were clearly a virus and were consistent with coronavirus, but he also confessed he was unable to test her with a testing kit.”


237 - Iran on Monday announced 43 new deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall toll to 237 dead, one of the world’s highest.

This kind of treatment, the campaign said, is designed to torment her and her family. “The effect is a kind of gaslighting, raising hopes before promises are not kept, and then a kind of guilt and self-blame, as the regime manages another distraction and avoids accountability for its acts of abuse,” it added.
“Cumulatively the experience is not just cruel and degrading. The cumulative effect — of promising to release and failing to do so, again and again — is a kind of mental torture. That is its design.”
Ratcliffe said: “Dangling publicly the idea of furlough without yet carrying it through has been an act of media management by the Iranian authorities. It has
aimed at distracting media attention from the refusal to test for coronavirus, and the fact thousands of prisoners, including British ones, have just been left in harm’s way.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained in April 2016 and later sentenced to five years in prison over allegations, which she denies, of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.
Iran has struggled to contain the coronavirus outbreak, with the latest figures indicating roughly 200 deaths and up to 6,000 infections.

Czech Republic to resume flights to Egypt

Updated 3 min 14 sec ago

Czech Republic to resume flights to Egypt

  • Flights will operate from Prague to the cities of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam
  • Several countries have relaunched tourist visits to Egypt after a halt due to the coronavirus

CAIRO: The Czech Republic will resume tourist flights to Egypt from Oct. 1.
Jan Fulik, the Czech ambassador to Egypt, confirmed the move during a meeting with Egyptian Tourism Minister Khaled Al-Anani.
Al-Anani is visiting Sharm el-Sheikh with aviation and environment ministers, along with 30 foreign envoys, to celebrate World Tourism Day.
Fulik said this decision to resume tourist flights follows Al-Anani’s visit to the Czech capital Prague last August for discussions with government officials on boosting tourism in Egypt.
Flights will operate from Prague to the cities of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam, and reservations for trips have begun on online booking sites.
Al-Anani said he appreciated the efforts of Said Hindam, the Egyptian ambassador to Prague, to improve links between the two countries, and offered an assurance that Egypt would take precautionary measures in tourist governorates to protect visitors.
Several countries have relaunched tourist visits to Egypt after a halt due to the coronavirus.
France will resume trips to Egyptian coastal cities from October.
Germany is considering resuming flights, with one official saying Egypt has “special priority” because of the country’s popularity with German tourists.