Britain says Johnson's comments do not justify further charges against aid worker jailed in Iran

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 06, 2017 1:16 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday that comments made by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson about jailed Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe should not be used to bring additional charges against her.

Johnson told the British parliament's foreign affairs committee on Nov. 1 that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching people journalism, a statement that the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity organization for which she works, said was incorrect.

"Last week's remarks by the Foreign Secretary provide no justifiable basis on which to bring any additional charges against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe," a spokesman for the British Foreign Office said.

"While criticizing the Iranian case against Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Foreign Secretary sought to explain that even the most extreme set of unproven Iranian allegations against her were insufficient reason for her detention and treatment."

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager, is serving a five-year jail sentence after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's clerical establishment.

She was brought again into court on Nov. 4, three days after Johnson's remarks, and accused by a judge of "spreading propaganda against the regime".

"She is not a journalist and has never trained journalists at the Thomson Reuters Foundation where she is project manager in my Media Development team," Monique Villa, Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO, said in a statement.

The charges against Nazanin were denied by her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Catherine Evans)