Search

Tree for jailed West Hampstead mum Nazanin is ‘sabotaged’

PUBLISHED: 11:07 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:15 21 April 2017

Richard at the tree after messages and ribbons had been cut down

Richard at the tree after messages and ribbons had been cut down

Archant

The husband of a West Hampstead mum being held in an Iranian jail has spoken of his shock after a special tree adorned with yellow ribbons for her was attacked.

The tree in all its glory, adourned in ribbons for Nazanin The tree in all its glory, adourned in ribbons for Nazanin

Richard Ratcliffe believes the tree has been sabotaged deliberately – possibly for political reasons.

His wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has served a year of a five-year prison sentence in Iran - forcing her apart from her two-year-old daughter Gabriella, who is also trapped in Tehran and living with her grandparents.

He said: “This is not random vandalism or people messing around. They came equipped with scissors and cut down ribbons from the main tree, surrounding benches and other trees. The only ribbons left are right at the top where they couldn’t reach. I believe there is a political motive for this.

“It is shocking that this has happened in our park, on our territory. I am really shocked.”

The Ratcliffe Family together before Nazanin's arrest The Ratcliffe Family together before Nazanin's arrest

As reported in the Ham&High, on April 3 family friends and supporters decorated the tree, in Fortune Green, with messages of freedom tied with hundreds of yellow ribbons to mark exactly a year since Nazanin and Gabriella were seized at Tehran airport as they tried to return home from a family holiday.

Nazanin has since been sentenced to five years in jail for “plotting against the state” following a secret trial.

Richard has been campaigning tirelessly for her release and in December hundreds of friends and supporters from Hampstead marched to Downing Street to urge the British government to intervene.

Richard noticed that the tree had been attacked on bank holiday Monday as he visited the park near his home – one of Nazanin’s special places.

At first he assumed it was the council parks department who had stripped the tree but they confirmed they had nothing to do with it.

“I was really upset that the positivity of the day had been taken away but also thought that maybe we could get the messages back. We put out an appeal on our Facebook page.

“Now it feels more that the struggle needs to continue – the important thing is to keep the dream alive.

“We have the pictures and will make the book to send to Nazanin’s family. We will continue tying ribbons.”

A petition urging the British government to help free Nazanin has 893,634 signatures.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

10:30

Police are trying to trace two teenagers they believe are connected to an attempted robbery and assault on a Thameslink train from West Hampstead.

08:30

Safety campaigners fear the Hampstead community will be at risk of more crime as the number of neighbourhood police officers has been slashed.

Yesterday, 17:30

Flick Rea is a fairly unique councillor, even it comes to Camden Council.

Yesterday, 15:07

It was a case of the Liberal Democrats preaching to the converted, as they launched their elections manifesto at St James’ Church in West Hampstead last night.

Mon, 17:00

Current deputy leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor said Claire Kober’s flagship policy “does not provide the answer” on housing in the borough.

Mon, 13:50

In voter packs delivered on Saturday, Haringey Council told residents they should only vote for one candidate, instead of three.

Mon, 12:58

A teenager is in a critical condition in hospital, and another is recovering after a stabbing near Alexandra Palace last night.

Mon, 12:00

A sniffer dog belonging to an ex-policeman turned private investigator has uncovered a haul of precious jewellery from woodland in Oak Hill Way, Hampstead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

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