An Iranian appeals court has upheld a ruling that adds another year to the prison sentence of an Iranian-British woman who has already served a five-year prison sentence in Tehran, according to her lawyer.
The initial court ruling against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe also included a one-year-travel ban abroad, meaning Zaghari-Ratcliffe cannot leave Iran to join her husband and now 7-year-old daughter in London for nearly two more years.
In April, the court sentenced Zaghari-Ratcliffe on charges that she had spread “propaganda against the system” when she participated in a protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.
Lawyer Hojjat Kermani said on October 16 that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "concerned" when he informed her about the appeals court decision at a closed-door hearing. He said that she was in touch with her family about the decision.
Employed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the Reuters news agency, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken into custody at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport in April 2016 when she tried to return to her home in Britain after visiting family in Iran.
She was then sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly plotting the overthrow of Iran’s government -- a charge that she, her supporters, and rights groups deny.
Rights groups accuse Iran of holding dual nationals as bargaining chips for money or influence in negotiations with the West.
Tehran denies that it jails dual nationals to use as bargaining chips.
Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, so detainees like Zaghari-Ratcliffe cannot receive consular assistance.
Authorities recently furloughed Zaghari-Ratcliffe from prison because of the surging coronavirus pandemic. She has been restricted to her parents’ home in Tehran since.