By Stephen Hoffman
Since 3rd April 2016, British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran at the detriment to her physical and mental health. Falsely charged for being a “member of an illegal group“, she has been accused of espionage and trying to topple the Iranian regime whilst on holiday visiting her parents. Without any credible evidence, Iranian authorities claim that Nazanin was attempting to train journalists in Iran, given her work back in the UK with bodies such as the BBC and, at the time of her arrest, The Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Since her traumatic arrest and trial, Nazanin was sentenced to five years in Evin Prison (Tehran) – referred to as Iran’s “biggest and most notorious prison” and with a history of torture, overcrowding and disease. She has been repeatedly denied medical care throughout her imprisonment and was recently transferred to a psychiatric ward where she was chained to a bed and left “broken” by her experience, before being returned to Evin prison where she now remains.
To worsen an already horrific situation, Nazanin is only able to see her daughter Gabriella, who travelled to Iran with her and remains is in the care of her grandparents, during short visits to the prison and a prior short period of leave from prison. Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe has also repeatedly been denied a visa and left unable to travel to Tehran, having now not seen his wife or daughter for over three years. What was once a happy united British family, has since been torn apart as a young innocent mother lies in wait, uncertain of what the future holds for her.
In protest of the injustice surrounding her case, Nazanin went on hunger strike from June 14th to June 29th (2019) – the second hunger strike she has undertaken throughout her imprisonment to-date. In solidarity with his wife, Richard joined his wife a by going on a hunger strike outside the Iranian embassy in London, calling for his wife to be freed and raising much-needed awareness of Nazanin’s plight.
Highlighting Nazanin’s story and the effect of her imprisonment on the entire family, Richard was supported by celebrities, MPs and fellow activists – including myself – who visited the embassy and took to Twitter to spread the message about this tragic case.
Here at Voice of Salam, we’re backing calls to #FreeNazanin and it’s crucial that each and every one of us takes action to make this a reality and reunite this family.
Take action to #FreeNazanin
We must raise our voices and put pressure on the British government to support Nazanin as a British national by lobbying the Iranian authorities. By writing to your local MP, you will be raising awareness of Nazanin’s imprisonment and calling on the UK Government to take action. We have made reaching out as simple as possible for you with our special MP lobbying guide for Nazanin’s case.
To take action, simply download our easy-to-read guide, which includes everything you need to know about contacting your MP and a sample email/letter template which you can personalise when reaching out.
Download the guide now and take action to #FreeNazanin!
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