Supporters of jailed British-Iranian aid worker sing carols at Downing Street


LONDON (Reuters) – Supporters of Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is jailed in Iran, sang “homecoming” carols outside Prime Minister Theresa May’s Downing Street offices on Tuesday evening.

Demonstrators attend a carol singing vigil for the families of British citizens detained overseas, outside Downing Street in London, Britain, December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Her husband Richard and opposition Labour party foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry joined singers at the vigil who were also pressing for the return of Briton Andy Tsege, a father of three who is being held in Ethiopia.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 38, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in Iran 19 months ago and sentenced to five years in jail after a court convicted her of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment. She denies the charges.

Her supporters have also sent a letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urging him to free Zaghari-Ratcliffe and allow her to be reunited with her husband and their three-year-old daughter Gabriella.

May’s government is under intense pressure to secure Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release, in part because of remarks Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made last month that Iran said justified her conviction.

Johnson, who has since said he was “wrong” for saying that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran in a professional capacity “training journalists”, is due to visit the Islamic Republic soon but no date has been announced.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is expected to appear in court in Iran on Dec. 10, her husband has said.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation is a charity organisation that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.

Reporting by Stephen Addison; editing by Mark Heinrich

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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