The lawyer of an Iranian-British woman convicted on spying charges in Iran has asked that she be released after serving half of her sentence, a request that was immediately rejected by the Tehran prosecutors’office, the state IRNA news agency reports.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was sentenced to five years for allegedly planning the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government while travelling with her young daughter in Iran at the time. She was was arrested in April 2016.
Her sentence has been widely criticised and her family has denied all the allegations against her.
Australians have also been detained in Iran, with couple Jolie King and Mark Firkin being detained for three months and allowed to return home after the charges were dropped. They were arrested for flying a drone near a military zone without a licence.
A third Australian, Melbourne University lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who has been in detention since October 2018. She was accused of spying and has been convicted and sentenced.
The report by IRNA quoted her lawyer, Mahmoud Behzadi Rad, as saying that he had submitted a request for what Iran’s judiciary calls “conditional release” – when a convict has served half his or her sentence, the person can apply for such a release and the courts have the power to grant it for “good behaviour”.
“According to the law, she is entitled to apply for a conditional release,” the lawyer said on Sunday.