RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Author)
Iran has rejected a request by the lawyer of an Iranian-British woman convicted of spying charges in Iran that she be released after serving half of her sentence, the state-run IRNA news agency reported on December 22.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 and sentenced to five years in prison later that same year in a case that has been condemned internationally.
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 behavior.”
“According to the law, she is entitled to apply for a conditional release,” the lawyer said.
IRNA did not say why the request was denied.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe went on a 15-day hunger strike in June, to call attention to her plight. In July, she was moved to the mental health ward of Imam Khomeini hospital under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The Free Nazanin Campaign said in a statement at the time that it does not know what treatment she is receiving or how long she is expected to remain in the hospital.
Amnesty International has campaigned for her release, calling Zagharia-Ratcliffe a "prisoner of conscience."
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