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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe collapses in prison for second day in a row

Husband says health issues have been triggered  by to “crushing disappointment” of return to prison

Demonstrators hold placards in support of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Reuters
Demonstrators hold placards in support of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Reuters

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian mother who was granted a three-day temporary release from a Tehran prison last week, received medical treatment at a clinic on Wednesday after suffering a blackout for a second day in a row.

According to a former political prisoner and her family, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe lost consciousness following a panic attack. She is currently serving a five-year jail sentence for allegedly spying in a high-profile case that has strained British-Iranian relations since she was arrested in April 2016.

Richard Ratcliffe, who has led a high-profile campaign for his wife’s release from prison, told Sky News his wife had been suffering from headaches and had been feeling “very very down.”

She is also said to have been feeling numbness in her right arm. Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken ill a week after she was reunited with her daughter Gabriella during a three-day release that was not granted the requested extension.

Mr Ratcliffe said his wife’s condition “feels like the physical symptoms of crushing disappointment since she went back into prison.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been told by authorities that the request put in by her lawyer for an extension of the release had been granted, but was later notified that the permit had not been signed off.

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Read more:

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband hopeful for her permanent release

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe returned to Iran jail

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The 40-year-old charity worker from Hampstead, north London, had travelled to see her family north east of Tehran when she was arrested for plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime - something she has always denied.

Mr Ratcliffe said the family is "clearly very, very worried" and added that "when I spoke to her on the phone [Monday] morning, she was devastated and it was amongst the hardest phone calls I've had with her.”

He said his wife was “gutted” to be back in jail. "They'll be trying to assess how serious they think it is but the fact that it's happened now two days in a row, and that she passed out… they'll be worried, as are we," Mr Ratcliffe said.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted Wednesday that “all our thoughts and prayers with Nazanin and her family today. Unbearable suffering to be apart from daughter with her hopes raised then dashed. We must redouble efforts to find a way to get her home.”

Mr Ratcliffe previously praised Mr Hunt, saying gave the case greater priority than his predecessor, Boris Johnson. Officials have discussed the possibility of granting diplomatic protection to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe to get her out.

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