30 June 2019

Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe: A pawn in a war of words


The case of Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe is deeply upsetting. A dual UK and Iranian national, she's been in prison in Tehran since being stopped at Tehran airport in 2016. She'd been visiting family there, something she has occasionally done without issue. This time was different. Stopped by the Revolutionary Guard, she was whisked away.

There are various elements of Nazanin's story that are particularly distressing.

First is the fact that although her family who'd accompanied her to the airport knew she'd been arrested, it took several months until they knew where she was or what she was being held for. To effectively just disappear from view must be stressful.

Secondly is that this all happened in full sight of her two year old daughter Gabriella. She is being looked after by her grandparents in Tehran, after her passport was confiscated meaning she couldn't return to the UK either. All this despite the fact that Gabriella doesn't have dual citizenship and is a fully paid up member of the UK population. Even though her passport has now been returned, the fact she cannot return home with her Mother is very distressing. Gabriella recently turned five, and although she's been protected from the finer detail, she understands the injustice of her mother's arrest.

Following international pressure to explain their actions, the Iranian authorities charged Nazanin with spying. Nazanin's family adamantly refute this unproven allegation. Her trial was biased, and although Nazanin had a lawyer, they only had three weeks to prepare a defence. She's been continually interrogated and pressured to sign a confession, yet she's refused each time.

The treatment afforded to Nazanin since her arrest in 2016 has fallen a long way short of internationally agreed standards.
  • Her husband Richard has been unable to get a visa to visit his wife.
  • Access by the UK’s Ambassador to Iran has been sporadic at best.
  • Nazanin's mental and physical health has deteriorated, yet she's been denied the treatment she required.
  • Phone calls home and family visits are occasionally denied.
Last year Nazanin went on hunger strike to draw attention to the conditions she was being held under and the injustice of her case. Earlier this month she went on hunger strike again, and her husband decided to do likewise outside the Iranian Embassy in London. What started as a simple showing of solidarity with his wife, has resulted in an outpouring of support for Nazanin’s case from across the world. It has been widely supported by politicians and ordinary people alike. As a result, the media profile of Nazanin’s case has reached a whole new audience.

Although both Nazanine and Richard have just stopped their hunger strike, the fight for justice continues. We must keep up the pressure on the Iranian authorities to unconditionally release Nazanin, and drop all charges against her.

There's a petition on change.org - https://www.change.org/p/free-nazanin-ratcliffe?source_location=discover_feed - and if you want to write to the Iranian Ambassador in London, feel free to use the following suggested text.

 Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran
 Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
 16 Princes Gate
 London
 SW7 1PT

Your Excellency Hamid Baeidineijad,

I write to you as a supporter of Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe and her husband Richard.

The treatment afforded to Nazanin since her arrest in 2016 has fallen short of internationally agreed standards. Likewise, the inability of her husband to get a visa to visit his wife, or access to be allowed by the UK’s Ambassador to Iran must not be allowed to continue.

You’ll be aware that both Nazanin and her husband recently ended a hunger strike to draw attention to her plight. This action has resulted in an outpouring of support for Nazanin’s case from across the world, and was widely supported by politicians and ordinary people alike. As a result, the media profile of Nazanin’s case has reached a whole new audience.

All I ask is you contact your government asking the authorities to release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe immediately and unconditionally. Until her release I ask that you:
  • Allow Nazanin access to assistance from the UK Embassy in Tehran.
  • Grant her the specialised medical care she needs.
  • Allow access to her daughter.

Yours sincerely,

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