‘Torture victim’ Nazanin needs urgent psychiatric help, charity says

‘Torture victim’ Nazanin needs urgent psychiatric help, charity says

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azanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a victim of torture, suffers major depression and PTSD and requires urgent psychiatric treatment, according to a charity which commissioned a detailed medical assessment of her.

As Mrs Zaghari-Ratliffe prepares to return to court in Iran on Sunday, human rights group Redress has called on the Government to recognise her as a victim of torture.

It has sent the Foreign Secretary a 77-page report on the mother-of-one it commissioned from the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, last week completed a five-year sentence in Tehran on spying charges levied by Iranian authorities, the last year of which was spent under house arrest due to the pandemic.

However, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, whose husband Richard and six-year-old daughter Gabriella live in London, must now return to court to face more charges in the case some observers have linked to a long-standing debt Iran alleges it is owed by the UK.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained / PA Wire

Coming a day after Boris Johnson demanded her release in a call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani the report says Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and obsessive stress disorder because of “extremely stressful, traumatising experiences in the prisons of Iran” and the uncertainty surrounding her immediate future.

It also says at the beginning of her sentence in 2016, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was interrogated for hours on end, often blindfolded, while in solitary confinement.

Redress says the report also shows the former Thomson Reuters Foundation aid administrator has suffered hair loss, developed obsessive compulsive disorder about washing, and was repeatedly forced to endure hearing a female prison guard’s conversations with her daughter, exacerbating her distress at being separated from her own child.

“In addition, she experiences ongoing physical pain and impairment in her neck, right shoulder, and arm, which arose as a result of her treatment and the denial of medical care,” Redress said in a statement.

The charity said it based its categorisation of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe as a torture victim on UN standards, and said the assessment’s findings were “highly consistent” with Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s allegations of torture and ill-treatment.

In the long-term, without reunification with her family in the UK and effective treatment, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s conditions will become chronic and potentially deteriorate

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