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British-Iranian woman transferred back to Tehran prison

A British-Iranian mother jailed in Tehran since 2016 has been returned to prison after being held in the mental ward of a public hospital for nearly a week, her husband said Monday.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was kept chained and under heavy guard for six days which she says left her “broken”, according to her husband Richard Ratcliffe.

The 40-year-old detainee, who is serving a five-year term for sedition, was returned to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison — used to hold political prisoners — on Saturday, he said.

She was then allowed to see her mother and five-year-old daughter Gabriella the following day, Ratcliffe added.

“I am all right, broken, but I survived,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe said, in comments relayed by her husband in a lengthy statement detailing her detention in the psychiatric ward.

“I wasn’t allowed to leave the room, as I was chained to the bed. It was proper torture.

“I am relieved I am back to prison,” she added.

Ratcliffe, who has spent the last three years doggedly campaigning for his wife’s release, said he hoped Iranian medical officials might now consider releasing her on health grounds.

“The whole experience was deeply traumatising,” he said of her transfer to the mental unit.

“Her lawyer will be pressing the Health Commission to finally rule that Nazanin is not fit to stay in prison and can be granted unconditional release.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 as she was leaving Iran after taking their then 22-month-old daughter to visit her family.

She was sentenced to five years for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government.

A project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the media group’s philanthropic arm, she denies all charges.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case has unfolded amid escalating tensions between London and Tehran, with her days on the mental ward this week coinciding with a major diplomatic flare-up.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a UK-flagged tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Friday, in apparent retaliation for British authorities detaining an Iranian vessel earlier this month off Gibraltar.

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