Tuesday, January 25

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: husband goes on hunger strike to pressure UK government

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, who has been detained in Iran for more than five years, went on a hunger strike on Sunday and called on the UK government to step up efforts for his release.

Richard Ratcliffe began his fast on Sunday in front of the British government’s Foreign Office in central London.

In an update to your change.org request He explained that his hunger strike “arises in response to Nazanin’s latest conviction.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual-national charity worker, served five years in prison after being detained at the Tehran airport in April 2016 and convicted of plotting to overthrow the government of Iran, a charge that she, her supporters and groups of human rights deny.

In May, she was sentenced to another year in prison on charges of spreading “propaganda against the system” for taking part in a protest outside the Iranian embassy in London in 2009, a decision confirmed this month by an appeals court. The verdict includes a one-year travel ban, which means he could not leave Iran until 2023.

Ratcliffe wrote that he had spoken to Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss about the latest development in his wife’s case and was told that “it was not a trigger point for action. That would be when Nazanin returned to prison.”

“For us, reincarceration is too late, it would mean not seeing Nazanin until 2023.”

“Right before the news, we had a very gloomy meeting with the Foreign Ministry, which ended when I told them that I had no confidence in their strategy and their reluctance to act,” he wrote.

Ratcliffe went on a 15-day hunger strike two years ago in front of the Iranian embassy, ​​a move he attributes to the release of his 7-year-old daughter Gabriella.

“Now we are giving the UK government the same treatment. Honestly, I never expected to have to go on a hunger strike twice. It is not a normal act.”

He said that Iran remains the “main abuser” in the Nazanin case, but that “the UK is also disappointing us.”

“It is increasingly clear that the Nazanin case could have been solved many months ago, but for other diplomatic agendas. The prime minister must take responsibility for that. “

Euronews has contacted the British Foreign Office for comment.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency, and was arrested while returning home to Britain after visiting family. Human rights groups accuse Iran of having dual citizens as a bargaining chip for money or influence in negotiations with the West, something Tehran denies.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation said in a statement on Twitter that they are “deeply saddened that, for the second time in two years, Richard Ratcliffe has gone on a hunger strike to demand justice for his wife and our colleague Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe.”

Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, so detainees such as Zaghari-Ratcliffe cannot receive consular assistance.


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