AN Iranian-British woman serving a five-year prison sentence in Iran for plotting the “soft toppling” of its government while travelling with her toddler daughter faces new charges that could add 16 years to her sentence, her husband said.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faced a court hearing on Sunday at Tehran’s Evin prison where she heard of the new charges being brought against her by Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which prevent her from seeking early release next month.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe pleaded innocent to the new charges, which involve her previously working for the BBC and being a current employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency, her husband Richard Ratcliffe said yesterday.

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“Thanks to the Revolutionary Guard’s antics, this is a justice system that can no longer look its victims in the eye, can no longer look itself in the mirror,” Ratcliffe said in a statement.

The British Foreign Office and Iran’s mission at the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment while the new charges have not been reported in Iran’s state media.

Monique Villa, the chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, called Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s treatment at the hands of Iran “harrowing”.

“This inhumane treatment is breaking up a young family and has already caused irreparable damage to Nazanin’s physical and mental health,” Villa said.

Iranian news agencies have said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was convicted of plotting the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government while travelling to visit her parents with her young daughter in 2016.

Her family said the guard tried to get her to confess on camera that she trained and recruited spies, a charge she denied.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is one of several dual nationals held in Iran by hard-liners in the country’s judiciary and security services on espionage charges, likely to be used as bargaining chips in future negotiations with the West. A UN panel of experts recently described the practice as part of an “emerging pattern” since the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.