Editor’s view: Gabriella is an example to us all

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 June 2018

Valentina Zamorano, four, lights a candle for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's daughter Gabriella. Picture: LINDA GROVE

Valentina Zamorano, four, lights a candle for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's daughter Gabriella. Picture: LINDA GROVE


True, there are some new faces at the Ham&High this month – but the name Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is one you will continue to see in the pages of this paper until she is freed.

It is heartbreaking to watch the video on our website of Richard Ratcliffe singing Happy Birthday to his little daughter Gabriella, via a smartphone, outside the Foreign Office on Monday.

A four-year-old girl’s birthday should not require an international political protest, and certainly should not be spent away from her parents. Yet Gabriella’s mother is unfairly locked away in an Iranian jail and Gabriella has grown up almost entirely without either parent. Her smile in the photograph taken last week, in which she holds a letter to Boris Johnson pleading for him to secure her mother’s release, is perhaps even more heartbreaking.

Taken ahead of her birthday, it shows a hope that we know now would be dashed – that Nazanin would be released on furlough to spend the day with her daughter.

But if after so many disappointments stretching back more than two years Gabriella can still find hope, so must Nazanin’s supporters. The correct response is of course anger and the demand for action. But it is equally vital that the family has hope, too, to show Gabriella she is right to keep smiling, and to show Nazanin her community and loved ones will not rest until she is back with them.

This paper echoes the call for Theresa May to meet Richard, and to leave no stone unturned to secure Nazanin’s release.

•I welcome Channing School’s withdrawal of plans to turn its sports field into a temporary car park. Not so much for the loss of space, which wouldn’t have interfered with sports, but for the example it sets students.

So long as kids are taught to make space for cars, London will continue choking to death on filthy air. Driving is an unsustainable luxury, not a necessity, for most of us. That is the message Channing’s pupils should be receiving as part of their “high-quality education”.

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