Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'in urgent need of psychiatric support'

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe “is in urgent need of psychiatric support” and has been the victim of torture, a report prepared by psychiatrists has found after examining her mental health.

The detained British Iranian dual-national’s healing “can be only provided in the UK in the presence of her family after reunification”, il rapporto dice.

The 77-page report, prepared for the campaign group Redress, comes ahead of the Iranian authorities deciding on Sunday whether Zaghari-Ratcliffe should face a second set of charges. Intensive backstage diplomacy is under way to prevent the charges being laid.

Redress urged the UK foreign secretary, Domenico Raab, to accept that she has been the victim of torture.

The report was prepared by two doctors after extensive virtual discussions with her in October and February.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe spent nearly four years in two different prisons and spent nine months in solitary confinement, a regular feature of Iranian interrogation techniques in cases of what they describe as security prisoners.

The experts note that the psychological and physical conditions that she experienced while in prison have persisted while Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been living with her parents in Iran, “where the continuing uncertainty of her fate creates a sense of permanent threat leading to constant pain and suffering”.

The examination was conducted virtually by Prof Dr Michele Heisler and Dr Lilla Hardi, two members of the internationally recognised independent experts forensic group.

The report finds Zaghari-Ratcliffe is suffering from “serious post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder due to her mistreatment during detention, present house arrest, and continuing legal and judicial uncertainty. Inoltre, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe experiences physical pain and impairment that developed over the course of her imprisonment, including neck, shoulder and arm pain and numbness, tooth pain, possible anaemia, and breast lumps, which have not been adequately evaluated or treated.”

The report also finds only “individual psychotherapy that will provide her with the opportunity to develop a trusting relationship with a therapist who has a specialty in the treatment of severe trauma”.

The emphasis on the torture of solitary confinement in the report comes as a group of 25 civil rights activists began a lawsuit in Tehran claiming the practice of placing detainees in prolonged solitary confinement is routinely used in Iran to isolate and weaken detainees in order to extract false “confessions”.

They claim in the lawsuit filed at the beginning of this month that Iranian law does not recognise solitary confinement as a means of punishment. “There is no legal authority for solitary confinement and indeed Iran’s supreme administrative court ruled in 2004 that regulations allowing suspects to be held in solitary were unlawful”, the claim says.

They argue in the lawsuit that “at present, solitary confinement is routinely carried out by Iran’s security agencies – both the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp’s (IRGC) Intelligence Organization, which is under the authority of Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and the intelligence ministry, which operates under the authority of President Hassan Rouhani”.

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