The family of British-Iranian prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe fear she is being “drugged or tortured and forced to sign a false confession” after being moved to a mental health ward, an MP has told parliament.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP Tulip Siddiq revealed the fears that the British mum was being “caged like an animal” after news broke that she had been transferred to a mental health ward.
Asking an urgent question in the House of Commons, Ms Siddiq said she feared her constituent she was “handcuffed and shackled at the ankles”
She also revealed that her family fear she may be drugged and being tortured and may be forced to sign a confession.
The MP claimed that she was being kept on a locked ward guarded by the Iranian revolutionary guard.
Ms Siddiq said her constituent was “shackled like a caged animal on her way to receiving urgent medical care” and added “her future does seem bleak”
Replying to the question Foreign Office minister Dr Andrew Murrison confirmed that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken to the psychiatric ward on Monday – where she had been unable to make calls, be visited by family or communicate with the British government.
An Iranian court previously sentenced Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, who was arrested in April 2016, to five years in prison for spying, a charge she vehemently denies.
Yesterday, her husband Richard Ratcliffe said she has now been moved from Evin prison to the mental ward of Iman Khomeini hospital, in Tehran.
Yesterday Downing Street urged Iran to allow Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family to visit her.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are extremely concerned about Nazanin’s welfare and call for her immediate release, and we urge Iran to allow family members to visit her and check on her care.”
Her father said he visited the hospital on Tuesday but was not allowed to see his daughter and that she has not been allowed to contact her family.
Before being transferred, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe told relatives: “I was healthy and happy when I came to Iran to see my parents.
“Three and a bit years later and I am admitted to a mental health clinic.
“Look at me now, I ended up in an asylum. It should be an embarrassment.
“Prison is getting harder and harder for me. I hate being played in the middle of a political game. I just hate it.”
In a press release, the Free Nazanin Campaign said it is not known what treatment she is receiving or how long she is expected to remain in hospital.
The transfer comes after Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe went on hunger strike for 15 days last month in protest at her “unfair imprisonment”.
Mr Ratcliffe also did not eat for the period in solidarity with his wife as he camped on the pavement outside the Iranian Embassy in London.
The couple’s five-year-old daughter Gabriella has stayed in Iran with her grandparents since her since her mother’s arrest.
Mr Ratcliffe said: “Nazanin hoped that her hunger strike would move the Iranian authorities, and it clearly has.
“Hopefully her transfer to hospital means that she is getting treatment and care, despite my distrust of just what pressures can happen behind closed doors. It is unnerving when we don’t know what is going on.
“I am glad her dad has been down there to keep vigil outside.
“Mental hospital has its worries at the best of times – but particularly when kept isolated and under the control of the Revolutionary Guard.
“Even now it still seems like games of power and control are being played by the Iranian authorities – even at the point of hospitalisation.
“We hope again this is the beginning of the end. And yet, we were also here last summer.
“We will be following up with the new prime minister whenever that is decided to ensure he takes personal responsibility for Nazanin’s case.”
At the end of the dual hunger strike, Mr Ratcliffe said he believed the protest had been successful in raising the profile of his wife’s case, with more than 100 MPs coming to show support to him in person, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn .
Earlier this year, Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt granted Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protection in a bid to resolve her case.
In a 2017 gaffe, Boris Johnson , his rival to become prime minister, said that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran “teaching people journalism” – despite her family’s insistence she was there to visit relatives.
He has repeatedly said the responsibility for her continued detention lies with the Revolutionary Guard.