Hope as United Nations calls on Iran to release West Hampstead mum Nazanin

PUBLISHED: 15:21 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 18:05 13 October 2016

The couple with their newborn baby Gabriella in West Hampstead

The couple with their newborn baby Gabriella in West Hampstead


The UN body has called on Iran to immediately release and compensate Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian national held in Iran, adding momentum to the campaign

From l-r, Carla Ferstman from human rights organisation Redress, husband Richard Ratcliffe, Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and KilburnFrom l-r, Carla Ferstman from human rights organisation Redress, husband Richard Ratcliffe, Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn

The United Nations working group on arbitrary detention announced its findings that Nazanin’s imprisonment is abitrary and that she has been denied a fair trial.

It also found Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was discriminated against as a dual Iranian-British national.

And it expressed its grave concern about Nazanin’s deteriorating health since her arrest and detention, for which she has not received medical care. They also believe Nazanin’s detention is part of a broader pattern of detaining people with dual nationalities in Iran.

At a press conference today, husband Richard Ratcliffe appeared slightly nervous but resolute and cautiously optimistic.

He is calling on the British government to follow the UN in condemning Nazanin’s arbitrary confinement and to bring her home.

Richard said that when he last spoke to Nazanin, last week, he was relieved to find her “angry” that he, as her husband, as well as the British government, had not yet managed to bring her home.

He said: “I take strength at the fact she is well enough to be angry.”

Her fighting spirit has returned, in contrast to his last “awful, desolate” phone call with her.

Accountant Richard told international press, including France’s Libération and BBC Persia, that his daughter no longer remembers how to speak English and instead speaks Farsi when he chats to her on Skype.

He added: “she still calls out in the middle of the night for her mum.”

As reported in the Ham&High, Nazanin was arrested by the Iranian authorities when trying to leave for England, after visiting her family in March 2016 with her daughter Gabriella, now two.

Gabriella remains in Iran as her British passport has been confiscated.

Last month Nazanin was sentenced to five years in prison following a secret trial.

The family have appealed Nazanin’s detention - but Richard described today how the Iranian government has been “opaque” and there is no word as to whether Nazanin will have her day in court, or be pushed in front of an administrative panel.

Richard is now calling on Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to take firm action.

Carla Ferstman from human rights organisation, Redress, which brought the claim to the UN, repeated the calls.

Nazanin was a Thomson Reuters Foundation charity worker and the CEO, Monique Villa, chaired the press meeting. Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, also spoke.

Richard said: “I am grateful that the UN has taken such a strong stand. Last week 5 UN Special Rapporteurs described Nazanin’s case as a ‘mockery of justice’. Now the UN Working Group has called for her to be released, and compensated. The morality of our situation is clear. It is time for the UK Government to follow their lead.”

– For more on the story, see this week’s Ham&High.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 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.

Yesterday, 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.

Yesterday, 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.

Yesterday, 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.


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