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Prisons Husband of Brit jailed in Iran spent Christmas ‘in limbo’

THE husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said he has spent another Christmas “in limbo” waiting for news of her release from an Iranian prison.

Following his second Christmas without his British-Iranian wife and their three-year-old daughter Gabriella, Richard Ratcliffe described the situation as “a lot more positive” than last year.

He said he had hoped that she would be home for Christmas Day or Boxing Day, but this “big happy news didn’t happen.”

His wife was arrested in Tehran airport in April 2016 as she was about to fly back to Britain after visiting her parents with her daughter. The girl remains in Iran with her grandparents.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year sentence for plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, which she denies, and has now been detained for more than 634 days.

Mr Ratcliffe, whose only access to his daughter has been via Skype for more than half her life, said his wife felt “very low” on Christmas Eve after her expected release on December 23 did not happen.

He said that on Christmas Day, she and other prisoners had eaten roast chicken and read out passages from the Koran and the Bible.

She celebrated her 39th birthday on Boxing Day by cooking for her fellow inmates.

Mr Ratcliffe said: “We put a lot of time into having her home for the Christmas holiday period [up to January 6] and, if that doesn’t happen, my worry is there must be something blocking and more complicated than we realised.

“But I haven’t given up hope that this holiday period still could deliver a late Christmas.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sister-in-law Rebecca Jones said last week that her lawyer had found on an Iranian judiciary database that her name had been marked as eligible for early release.

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