The jailed British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been put through “psychological torture” after another delay in her bid for clemency, her husband said.
The decision over her fate in Iran has been complicated by an apparent dispute between the judiciary and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Mr Ratcliffe told British media it appeared that both the foreign ministry and the judiciary were seeking her release.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, has been out of prison since March as the Iranians battle the Covid-19 crisis, and she has applied for clemency after serving four years of a five-year sentence for unspecified national security offences.
She was arrested in April 2016 as she prepared to fly out of Iran after visiting her parents with her young daughter.
Her lawyers had hoped that officials will have ruled on her case last week but her lawyer was rebuffed on two occasions.
He has been told to report back to prosecutors next Saturday by which time the family believe it will be clear who will decide her fate among the upper echelons of the Iranian leadership.
She spent last week having nightmares as she waited for news at her parents’ home in Iran, where she is confined under an electronic tagging programme, her husband told a British newspaper.
"It is fair to say that what Nazanin has gone through amounts to psychological torture," Mr Ratcliffe told the Observer.
“The Revolutionary Guard have had no problem making a mockery of Iranian law,” he said. “But this is the first time we’ve had a situation where not only is the Iranian foreign ministry, behind closed doors, trying to solve this for diplomatic purposes, but also the judiciary are trying to solve this case.”
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is eligible for release under the terms of an amnesty announced by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier this year.
She is one of 125 identified security prisoners who is eligible for permanent release under the terms of the programme, according to Iran Prison Atlas, a database of prisoners compiled by a US-based group.
“I think we’re very close …. But we’re also preparing, behind closed doors, for the worst,” Mr Ratcliffe told the newspaper. “My hope is that behind closed doors, the British government and the Iranian government are reaching an understanding – which is that she can come home.”