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British-Iranian Aid Worker Returned To Tehran Prison After Three-Day Release


British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in undated file photo.

British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was returned to prison in Tehran after a request to extend her three-day temporary release was rejected by Iranian authorities, her husband says.

Richard Ratcliffe said in a statement from Britain that his wife returned to the Evin prison to continue serving her sentence on August 26.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe had left the prison on the morning of August 23 after being granted a temporary release and was reunited with her family in the town of Damavand, northeast of the capital.

A support group named The Free Nazanin campaign released photos showing Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugging her 4-year-old daughter during her release.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the charitable Thomson Reuters Foundation, is serving a five-year sentence after being convicted of plotting against the Iranian government, a charge denied by her family and the foundation.

Her employer and the British government say she was in Iran visiting relatives when she was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016 while traveling home with her daughter.

Iranian authorities and her lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on August 23 said her temporary release was "really good news" but said the action should be permanent.

After reports of her return to prison, Hunt wrote on Twitter that attempts to free Zaghari-Ratcliffe would continue.

"Looks like Iranian legal system is impervious to the simple fact at the heart of this: an innocent woman is desperate to be reunited with her family," Hunt said.

"Spoke to Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif on [August 24] but that clearly wasn't enough. The fight goes on."

In May, the head of Tehran's hard-line Revolutionary Court, Musa Ghazanfarabadi, said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was to face a second trial on new security charges, without providing more details.

Richard Ratcliffe said his wife had learned of the new allegation of "spreading propaganda against the regime" at a hearing before a judge at the court.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation said that it totally rejects "the renewed accusations that Nazanin is guilty of spreading propaganda.”

With reporting by Reuters, AP, The Daily Mail, and The Yorkshire Post
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