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Nazanin freed on 3-day release: Could this be ‘the beginning of the end’?

After 872 long days in an Iranian prison, Nazanin Ratcliffe has been permitted leave of 3 days to spend time with her family.

Nazanin’s husband Richard was called on Thursday morning and was notified that she would be released for 3 days. Mr Ratcliffe said that his wife was given 10 minutes notice on Thursday morning before being released. On speaking to his wife as she left the prison, he said that her release was a “happy surprise”.

The release comes with certain conditions. In these 3 days she must not conduct any interviews with the media, visit a foreign embassy, nor attempt to leave Iran.

The Free Nazanin campaign issued comments from Nazanin, who

“wasn’t expecting it at all.”

She said:

“It will be just awesome for Gabriella to have mummy home finally. We can play with her dolls house and she can show me her toys.”

“The thought of brushing her hair, and giving her a bath; of being able to take her to the park, and feed her, and sleep next to her – it just kills me. It is still so hard to believe.”

“I was so emotional to see my grandmother today. I cried so much. I felt so overwhelmed.”

“It felt like this really could be the beginning of the end.”

Nazanin has been jailed since 2016 when she was convicted on unjust charges of espionage. She was arrested on arrival at Tehran airport in 2016, on her way to visit her family on holiday, and take the opportunity to introduce her daughter, to family and relatives in Iran.

The campaign to release Nazanin has been tireless. Campaigners from human rights organisations in the UK and worldwide hope that this release signals the end of over 2 years of pain for Nazanin and her family.

Why now?

According to BBC reports, Nazanin heard that she was due to be released to see her family about two weeks ago. The Iranian authorities have so far given no explanation as to why she was released now. Speculation suggests that it could be a gesture due to Eid holidays. Another suggestion was that the appointment of Jeremy Hunt could have changed the diplomatic atmosphere between Iran and the UK.

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted yesterday:

“Really good news that Nazanin has been released on furlough, credit to tireless campaigning by husband Richard and her friends. But being in prison AT ALL is gross injustice and she must be PERMANENTLY released for which every effort will continue.”

However, doubts have recently been cast as to the extent to which his new appointment has helped the campaign to free Nazanin. Just a few days ago he had not decided whether or not to grant Nazanin diplomatic protection that had been demanded by her husband.

IOHR is thrilled at the news of Nazanin’s temporary release, however we urge her family and campaigners to continue to press the UK and Iranian governments to do their utmost to ensure that her release from prison is permanent.

Watch IOHR’s interview with Nazanin’s husband Richard:

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