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#FreeNazanin: Homeland actress joins audience at special Ham&High evening for jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at JW3

PUBLISHED: 19:53 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 20:14 19 March 2018

Richard Ratcliffe with actress Nazanin Boniadi at JW3

Richard Ratcliffe with actress Nazanin Boniadi at JW3

Archant

Homeland actress Nazanin Boniadi joined Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of jailed West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, at a special performance of a play to raise awareness of his wife’s plight.

Homeland actress Nazanin Boniadi called on the Iranian government to release her namesake Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at a special evening in Hampstead.

The actress, who lives in Los Angeles, joined Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe and more than a hundred theatregoers at the performance of the play Looking for Mummy; by Emi Howell, which tells Nazanin’s story.

The evening was organised by the Ham&High with the JW3 Jewish Community Centre, in Finchley Road. on Saturday night.

Ms Boniadi, a British Iranian said after the performance: “It was such a moving performance. I feel very strongly about Nazanin, my namesake, and am calling on the Iranian government to release her and the British Government to do more to bring her home.”

“Nazanin’s Story” written and directed by Emi Howell, performed at JW3 on 17.03.18. The performance was followed by a Q&A chaired by lawyer Penny Madden QC, with Richard Ratcliffe and playwright Emi Howell.“Nazanin’s Story” written and directed by Emi Howell, performed at JW3 on 17.03.18. The performance was followed by a Q&A chaired by lawyer Penny Madden QC, with Richard Ratcliffe and playwright Emi Howell.

After the play, Richard Ratcliffe answered questions from the audience in a Q&A chaired by lawyer Penny Madden QC who is advising the Ratcliffe family pro bono

When asked what the impact of the play has been, Richard said: “I think it is having a huge impact. The fact that people care and the fact that people come to see it. Nazanin’s words are being read out with such heart, it is moving people. One of the hardest parts of all this for Nazanin is being stuck in a cell alone feeling that nobody can touch you, noone can help you, This play is a way for her to know that people care. The fact that there is an outside and that the outside world cares. Having someone that keeps telling the story, thank you for that.”

Earlier this month, an Iranian judge told Nazanin she is being held over a £450 million debt owed by the British over an arms deal with Iran dating back to before the Islamic Revolution almost 40 years ago.

A member of the audience asked Richard: “While there is no justification for Nazanin’s imprisonment, has there been any comment as to how the British government justifies withholding what seems to be legally and morally money that is owed to the Iranian people?”

“Nazanin’s Story” written and directed by Emi Howell, performed at JW3 on 17.03.18. Cast with from top left, Raymond Simonson form JW3, Richard Ratcliffe, cast member Neizan F. Birchwood who played Richard Ratcliffe, front row, Iranian actress and campaign supporter Nazanin Boniadi, cast member Lily Nissan who plays Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and writer and director Emi Howell.“Nazanin’s Story” written and directed by Emi Howell, performed at JW3 on 17.03.18. Cast with from top left, Raymond Simonson form JW3, Richard Ratcliffe, cast member Neizan F. Birchwood who played Richard Ratcliffe, front row, Iranian actress and campaign supporter Nazanin Boniadi, cast member Lily Nissan who plays Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and writer and director Emi Howell.

Ms Madden QC answered: “We realised a long time ago now that there must be a connection between this debt going back to 1979. Since January 2016, now sanctions have been lifted the British government can pay the debt and there is nothing to stop them.

“But now we hear they are arguing over interest. It is an absolute travesty. To withold the payment of a debt when you know people’s lives are relying on you paying that debt that is legally due.”

Mr Ratcliffe added: “The British government is not that keen to talk about it publicly. It is behind closed doors.”

Raymond Simonson, CEO of JW3, which hosted the play, said after the performance: “Reflecting on a very moving evening at JW3 last night. This play is the dramatisation of a tragic true story of our local resident/mum/charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who has been held in an Iranian jail for almost two years. Over 100 people came out in 2 degrees and driving snow to watch the play and we were privileged to be joined by Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe.

“I am really proud that London’s Jewish community centre could help raise the profile of this awful case by putting on a play for a really diverse audience - including teenagers, Muslims, Jews, British-Iranians, and elderly local residents.”

Visit freenazanin.com to follow updates about Nazanin’s case, to sign the petition for her release and for more events in support of the campaign.

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