The Prime Minister stepped up pressure on Iran to release detained British charity worker, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, in face-to-face talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York on Tuesday.
Theresa May spoke with the Iranian president as world leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly, and expressed ‘serious concerns’ over the continued detention of the British-Iranian woman.
The Foreign Secretary Applies Pressure
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also pressed his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zaraf, during their first meeting yesterday in New York.
In a statement, Hunt said: “I today made clear to my Iranian counterpart that it is absolutely essential that the Iranian government takes rapid action in relation to the cases of a number of detained dual nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
I again pressed for Nazanin’s swift release – she deserves to be back at home with her family.”
906 Days and Counting
Credit: Number 10 Flickr
It is now 906 days since April 3, 2016 when Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested and detained by the Revolutionary Guard at Tehran Airport. She was returning home from a visit to see her parents and family with her 22-month-old daughter, Gabriella.
The British-Iranian woman, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has since been sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying, a charge she and her family have strenuously denied.
Campaigners believe Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s arbitrary detention has breached her fundamental human rights and the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights (OHCR) agrees.
In October 2017, the OHCR issued a statement declaring, “We consider that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been arbitrarily deprived of her liberty and that her right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal has been violated. These are flagrant violations of Iran’s obligations under international law.”
For over two years, Nazanin’s human rights have been disregarded.
Tulip Siddiq, the Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family constituency MP
Tulip Siddiq, MP for Richard where the Zaghari-Ratcliffe family resides, also raised concerns about human rights violations in a statement yesterday.
“My constituent has been through hell and back, and Theresa May’s decision to make a formal request to President Rouhani could make a real difference in securing Nazanin’s freedom.
“For over two years, Nazanin’s human rights have been disregarded. She has been subjected to arbitrary episodes of solitary confinement and psychological torture. She has repeatedly been given false hope of her imminent release, most notably through her three day ‘furlough’ in August.
Come what may, the Free Nazanin campaign will not stop until this innocent mother is returned back home to West Hampstead.”
Daughter has Passport Confiscated
Nazanin and Gabriella, last month, following Nazanin’s temporary release on furlough Credit: Free Nazanin
Richard and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter Gabriella, a British citizen, had her British passport confiscated by Iranian authorities when her mother was seized and has not seen her father, Richard, since early 2016.
Last month, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was temporarily released for three days enabling her to spend time with her now four-year old-daughter.
However, she was denied an extension and has returned to jail where her health has deteriorated.
Campaigners hope that the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary’s interventions will lead to Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s swift release and return home.