By Lee Brown
Source: New York Post
A British citizen convicted of spying in Iran fears she may have contracted coronavirus in prison — and UK officials are urgently seeking permission to test her, according to her family and reports.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a duel citizen of the UK and Iran, has reported “all the symptoms of coronavirus,” husband Richard Ratcliffe told UK TV’s “Good Morning Britain.”
“It’s just swept through the prison, the whole country, almost overnight,” Ratcliffe said, calling on Britain’s government to help his wife, who he said is “desperate” to get tested.
In a phone call from Evin prison in Tehran, Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, told the Times of London that her sickness has lasted a week.
“For a long time this has not felt like a normal cold,” she told the UK paper. “I know I need to get medicine to get better.”
Iran has confirmed 1,501 cases and 66 deaths, but Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family says the fact that nobody in the prison is getting tested — despite so many showing symptoms — suggests the number is far higher.
“They’re obviously under orders not to test anyone,” Ratcliffe told the UK TV show, saying the “whole country” of Iran has run out of medicines because Iran was “blindsided” by the deadly outbreak.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office called on Iran to “immediately allow” health professionals into the prison to assess British-Iranian dual nationals, the Northwich Guardian said.
“We have been urgently seeking updates in relation to the welfare of Nazanin and other dual nationals who are being held in Iranian jails,” a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson also told the paper.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe — whose parents live in Iran — is serving a five-year sentence for spying, a charge she has consistently denied.
She was later afforded diplomatic protection by the UK government, which argues that she is innocent and that her treatment by Iran failed to meet obligations under international law, the paper noted.