Editor’s comment: Toying with Nazanin is so unfair

PUBLISHED: 08:30 30 August 2018

A tearful Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says goodbye to daughter Gabriella before returning to Evin prison. Picture: RICHARD RATCLIFFE

A tearful Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says goodbye to daughter Gabriella before returning to Evin prison. Picture: RICHARD RATCLIFFE


When I met Richard Ratcliffe earlier this month, I was struck by his eloquence and hope.

But reading his latest interview, it is clear that Nazanin’s despair at returning to jail was devastating for both him and Gabriella, who has already been forced to grow up far beyond her four years by her mum’s cruel imprisonment.

After three days’ release on furlough, and the expectation it would be extended, Nazanin and her lawyer learnt on Sunday that she would be waking up the next morning in jail after all, as she had done every day bar three for the last 28 months.

Remember Nazanin’s temporary release was first supposed to have been granted over Gabriella’s birthday in June, only to be cancelled at the last minute.

That came after she was marked as eligible for early release in the days before Christmas. There was even a plea to release her in time for the Iranian festival of Nowruz in March.

Meanwhile, since November a second trial on mysterious security charges has been mooted, dropped, then put back on the table, with the risk of an even longer jail term.

Why? Why toy with someone so vulnerable, whose physical and mental health has already suffered badly through forced separation from her family?

Richard has previously told the Ham&High his wife was being used as a bargaining chip. A judge reportedly said in February Nazanin’s imprisonment was the consequence of a historic £450million debt owed by Britain to Iran.

An international debt is nothing to do with a mum being separated from her baby. The end does not and cannot justify the means.

And even that does not explain the decision to reunite her with her family for three days before cruelly wrenching her away. If Nazanin was a bargaining chip then, what is she now? A plaything?

Nazanin will come home to Britain eventually. But when? That’s now anybody’s guess.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

13 minutes ago

The Phoenix Cinema will hold a meeting on fundraising for the historic cinema this weekend.


A special interfaith Remembrance Sunday parade in Highgate saw attendees from across faiths and generations join together to pay their respects to those who fought and died in the First World War.


Camden Council has backed calls for a second referendum on Brexit, with councillors overwhelmingly supporting a motion last night.


A charity café in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park run by the Camden Society has been lauded for its inclusivity and work in the community.

Mitzvah Day organisers are encouraging everyone to volunteer for a good cause on Sunday – so the Ham&High got into the spirit by helping out a group of heroes who give supplies and friendship to homeless people every week.


The killers of a man who succumbed to horrific injuries inflicted on him in a drunken hostel fight five and a half years earlier have been sentenced over his murder.

Yesterday, 17:07

A sixteen year old boy has been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent over the Billy Fury Way stabbing which left another teenager in a “critical condition” in hospital.

Yesterday, 15:54

Only the wind in the trees and the sound of planes passing overhead could be heard at Highgate Cemetery yesterday morning, as it marked Armistice Day.


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


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now