Search

Editor’s view: #Freenazanin: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is just a ‘human bargaining chip’ to Iran

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:20 20 May 2018

The Ratclliffe family when Gabriella was just one week old. Picture: FAMILY

The Ratclliffe family when Gabriella was just one week old. Picture: FAMILY

Archant

The plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has dominated our headlines since I became editor of the Ham&High in 2016 and I am sickened still to be writing about it two years later.

Last month saw the second anniversary of the day Nazanin and daughter Gabriella, now three, were arrested by Iranian Revolutionary guards at Tehran Airport.

Instead of being closer to release, she is facing a new horrific blow: the prospect of being brought back into the Iranian court on new trumped up charges of spreading propaganda against Iran, which could see her five-year sentence increased for plotting against the state – charges she vehemently denies.

Since going public with her story, her husband Richard has tirelessly campaigned for her release and, at the Ham&High, her family’s local newspaper, we have kept Nazanin’s name on our pages.

Today I am reflecting on what we have achieved for her.

There is no doubt the constant campaigning has kept Nazanin’s name in national headlines and drummed up huge support for her. Her change.org petition has been signed by 1,620,000 people.

Nazanin’s case has been brought to the attention of the United Nations, which has called several times for her release, including in October 2016 and again in October 2017.

There are even times when her freedom has seemed really close, such as last Christmas, when the Iranian judiciary database listed her as “eligible for early release”.

But each time there is hope, it seems a bungling politician gets in the way.

First there was Boris Johnson, who seemed to dash all hope by incorrectly stating in public that Nazanin was a journalist, which led Iranians to up their campaign against her.

Now there is Donald Trump. By pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, the American president has thrown international relations with Iran into turmoil. It can be no coincidence that as Britain, France and Germany meet to discuss the deal in Brussels, Nazanin is threatened with a new court case.

The despicable reality is that Nazanin and her three-year-old daughter Gabriella are political pawns. They are being used by the Iranians as human bargaining chips. This is inhumane and cruel and our government must make sure it stops.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Fri, 17:52

Community groups are celebrating after the owners of the “landmark” Alliance pub in West Hampstead had planning permission for extensive remodelling and redevelopment refused.

Fri, 14:09

Twenty-five people, including eleven in Camden, have been charged with drugs offences after two-days of dawn raids in Camden, Islington, Brent and Lambeth.

Fri, 13:32

Sardonic, sarcastic and funny are three of the words that have been used to describe the late-SOAS lecturer and King’s Cross local Prof Lawrence Saez, who died at the beginning of September.

Fri, 12:49

Jamie Brown of Archant Local Impact explains how you can build brand awareness.

Thu, 19:01

This year’s Remembrance Day will see a remarkable multi-faith ceremony bring together the Highgate community to remember the horrors of the First World War on the centenary of its conclusion.

Thu, 16:43

Christmas came early for activists in West Hampstead last night after Camden Council refused to grant christmas tree sellers Pines and Needles a licence to trade from Fortune Green.

Thu, 15:00

“Zero-hours” critical care nurses at the Royal Free Trust are facing a pay cut that could set them back thousands of pounds a year, the Ham&High can reveal.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now