Detained British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said she “really can’t take it anymore” after Iranian authorities postponed a second court case against her and provided no explanation or new date.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, was due to face new, unspecified charges on Sunday but her case was adjourned suddenly.
She told her husband Richard Ratcliffe that she “wanted to scream out loud for 10 minutes, or to bang my head against the wall.”
Ratcliffe said she told him on Sunday: “I can’t take it anymore. They have all these games and I have no power in them. Sometimes I’m just full of anger ready to explode. I find myself hating everything in this life, including myself. There’s no escape.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a charity worker for the Reuters Foundation, was coming to the end of a five-year sentence for allegedly plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, when she was told she would face new charges. She denies the initial charges vehemently.
It is feared that new charges against her, said to be based on allegations that she “spread propaganda” against the regime, could lead to her being jailed after her present sentence.
After hearing about the new charges, she said she could not sleep, and “people shouldn’t underestimate the level of stress.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been under house arrest in her parents’ Tehran home since Iran’s coronavirus outbreak, but now fears she will be forced to return to Evin prison.
“She keeps saying, ‘Am I going back to prison?’” her husband said. “It’s too early to say what the postponement means, except that this remains a game of cat and mouse between governments, with us living life as a piece of bait.”
Ratcliffe believes that his wife is being held “hostage” to gain leverage over the UK in a historical dispute over a large defense deal that predates the 1979 Iranian revolution.
Responding to news of the adjournment, the UK Foreign Office urged Iran “to make Nazanin’s release permanent.”