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Hampstead school to host performance of awareness-raising Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe play

PUBLISHED: 15:35 02 February 2018

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with daughter Gabriella (Picture: Richard Ratcliffe)

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with daughter Gabriella (Picture: Richard Ratcliffe)

Richard Ratcliffe

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said the care a school has shown in hosting a play about their ordeal has made a great difference to his jailed wife.

South Hampstead High School headteacher Vicky Bingham.South Hampstead High School headteacher Vicky Bingham.

Richard Ratcliffe was speaking before South Hampstead High School hosts and live screens a performance of the play detailing Nazanin’s imprisonment in Iran after being found guilty of plotting against the regime.

“Nazanin so wants to come home, back to London, back to Fortune Green. Having that campaigning for her back at home, all that care makes such a difference to her as she sits in a prison cell,” Mr Ratcliffe said.

The staging of the play at the Maresfield Gardens school on February 9 comes after Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who helped organise a march on Downing Street in 2016 and wrote to Iran’s supreme leader urging Nazanin’s release last year, contacted headteacher Vicky Bingham.

Ms Learmond-Criqui explained how important it was for young people to be exposed to the impact of the difference between what a country says and does.

Richard Ratcliffe speaks after a performance of the play Looking for Mummy: Nazanins Story at the Thomson Reuters Foundation in October last year. Picture: Cormac OBrienRichard Ratcliffe speaks after a performance of the play Looking for Mummy: Nazanins Story at the Thomson Reuters Foundation in October last year. Picture: Cormac OBrien

“Nazanin’s ordeal is a tragedy, making a mockery of the human rights and freedoms to which Iran has paid lip service,” she said.

“Her case provides an insight into the impact differences between a country’s words and actions can have, which is important to highlight in schools,” she added.

The play, Looking for Mummy: Nazanin’s Story, will be staged at the school in front of 160 sixth formers and streamed live to more schools including Birkenhead High School Academy in Liverpool. About 500 students are expected to watch.

Mrs Bingham explained why she agreed to the idea: “The students care deeply about seeing Nazanin released and have a great sense of justice. I’m sure they will find the play very moving, but they will also be interested from a political perspective. They are very engaged young women.

Actress Jessica Butcher during a performance of Looking for Mummy: Nazanins Story. Picture: Cormac OBrienActress Jessica Butcher during a performance of Looking for Mummy: Nazanins Story. Picture: Cormac OBrien

“I hope Nazanin will feel encouraged and supported by it too and if we can do something to help raise awareness that can only be a good thing,” she added.

Mr Ratcliffe – who last month called on the United Nations to intervene in his wife’s case claiming the way she has been treated in jail amounts to torture – said: “We are both so grateful to South Hampstead High School, and all the schools involved in keeping Nazanin in the light.”

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