Dad's emotional birthday card appeal for West Hampstead toddler detained in Iran
PUBLISHED: 11:17 27 May 2016 | UPDATED: 09:22 28 May 2016
A distraught father whose daughter faces her second birthday detained in Iran without her parents has urged children around the world to send her a birthday card.
Richard Ratcliffe, 41, made the emotional appeal as he faced his 53rd day separated from Gabriella and wife Nazanin, who were both seized by security services at Tehran’s main airport as they arrived for their flight home after a holiday visiting relatives.
Nazanin, 37, is being held without charge in the Kerman province forced apart from Gabriella, whose British passport was seized.
Gabriella is being looked after by her grandparents while being held in Iran.
Mr Ratcliffe, of Fortune Green Road, West Hampstead, started a petition which has reached 705,887 signatures.
He urged people to keep signing so he can reach one million supporters and deliver the petition to the Iranian embassy.
In the meantime he has launched his birthday card appeal for Gabriella.
He said: “Gabriella turns two in a couple of weeks, on June 11 to be precise. I was wondering if you would be willing to send Gabriella a birthday card, via your nearest Iranian Embassy.
“We wanted to ask with half term coming, as something you could do, perhaps with your own children or grandchildren, or even see if their class teacher might do with their class. I was hoping for something simple, perhaps homemade, but also cheerful as much as cheap.”
“When they do finally get delivered, Gabriella is a rather enthusiastic card opener these days.”
He has urged people to then leave a comment on the petition webpage when they have sent a card.
He said: “Nazanin’s and Gabriella’s confinement can be all wrapped up in the complexities of Iranian politics and UK diplomacy,
“But in the end the decision will be simple. The Iranian authorities will keep them both only as long as their conscience allows it. Sometimes we all need a reminder to realise it.
“As ever, thank you all for standing alongside us, and for all your care for our family.”
The addresses of the Iranian embassies to send Gabriella’s cards to are on the petition website at change.org.