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Iranian court 'upholds five year sentence' for jailed Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

 Undated family handout file photo of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella

 Undated family handout file photo of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella

Iranian court 'upholds five year sentence' for jailed Briton Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

A British charity worker who was sentenced to five years in jail by a secret Iranian court has lost her final appeal against the ruling, according to Iranian media. 

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has been imprisoned in Iran since September, when she was arrested and accused of attempting to overthrow the regime. 

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, says the Iranian authorities provided no information about the nature of the charges, and carried out her trial in secrecy. 

Earlier this month, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 31, launched her final appeal against her sentence.

But the the Iranian news agency Mizanonline.ir published an article on Sunday which quotes prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying that her sentence has been finalized. 

Mizanonline.ir is affiliated with Iran's judiciary. 

Mr Ratcliffe has strongly criticised the British government for its handling of his wife's case, and claims it is using his wife as a "bargaining chip" as part of an ongoing diplomatic spat between the UK and Iran.

In a recent interview he added that Theresa May could have "publicly stood up for Nazanin more" and criticized her for refusing to demand Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release. 

"There are clearly things the Iranian government want from the British government," he said.

"Our family have been caught up as a bargaining chip in international politics, and that is a pretty tough place to be."

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was moved out of solitary confinement over Christmas and her condition has since improved.

"To go back a month or so ago she was suicidal and on hunger strike and very, very low and at her wits' end," Mr Ratcliffe said.

"I spoke to her on Christmas Day. She is still very sad and very low but there was more fight in her again.

"I think having been moved so she is with other women makes a big difference, having been alone and isolated all those months."

The British Foreign Office has previously said it is "deeply concerned" by Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's predicament, but has stopped short of calling for her release. 

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