Iran denies that British-Iranian aid worker can be released in a swap deal

Above, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, left, poses for a photograph with her daughter Gabriella in an undated photo released by the Free Nazanin campaign in London. (AFP)
Updated 22 December 2017

Iran denies that British-Iranian aid worker can be released in a swap deal

LONDON: The head of the justice department in Tehran denied on Friday reports in Western media that British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been sentenced to five years in jail in Iran, might be released in a swap deal.
“Besides serving her current sentence, she has also another ongoing case against her in court,” Gholamhossein Esmaili was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was sentenced after being convicted by an Iranian court of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment. She denies the charges.


Prisoners riot in Iran, region’s worst COVID-19 outbreak

Updated 29 sec ago

Prisoners riot in Iran, region’s worst COVID-19 outbreak

  • Iran had temporarily released around 100,000 prisoners as part of measures taken to contain the pandemic
  • Prisoners broke cameras and caused other damage in two sections housing violent criminals

TEHRAN: Prisoners in southern Iran broke cameras and caused other damage during a riot, state media reported Monday, the latest in a series of violent prison disturbances in the country, which is battling the most severe coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.
Iran had temporarily released around 100,000 prisoners as part of measures taken to contain the pandemic, leaving an estimated 50,000 people behind bars, including violent offenders and so-called “security cases,” often dual nationals and others with Western ties.
Families of detainees and Western nations say Iran is holding those prisoners for political reasons or to use them as bargaining chips in negotiations.
The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Gov. Enayatollah Rahimi of the southern Fars province as saying a riot broke out at Adel Abad Prison, the main lockup in the city of Shiraz. Rahimi said prisoners broke cameras and caused other damage in two sections housing violent criminals. No one was wounded and no one escaped.
IRNA reported Friday that 70 inmates had escaped Saqqez Prison in Iran’s western Kurdistan province. Prisoners beat guards during the chaos, a local prosecutor said. Several inmates later returned on their own to the prison.
Since the beginning of the year, riots have broken out in prisons in Aligudarz, Hamedan and Tabriz as well, with some prisoners escaping, IRNA reported.
Iran has reported more than 38,000 infections and 2,640 deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
The virus causes mild symptoms, including fever and cough, in most patients, who recover within a few weeks. But it is highly contagious and can be spread by people showing no symptoms. It can also cause severe illness and death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health problems.
The virus has infected more than 720,000 people worldwide, causing more than 34,000 deaths, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University. More than 150,000 have recovered.