Daughter of West Hampstead mum Nazanin celebrates birthday without parents

Nazanin with her daughter Gabriella, who has just turned three.

Nazanin with her daughter Gabriella, who has just turned three. - Credit: Archant

The young daughter of West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, imprisoned in Iran, is celebrating her third birthday with her grandparents, and without either parent to help unwrap her presents.

Gabriella, now three, is living with her grandparents in Iran, after her mother, a dual-national, was arrested at Tehran airport.

Nazanin, a 38-year-old charity worker, was seized at the airport by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards when returning from a family holiday with her daughter on April 3 2016.

Gabriella originally had her passport confiscated, but even though it has been returned, her parents have decided it is best for her to stay in Iran while her mum is imprisoned.

It means that Gabriella can still visit her mother and stay with her Iranian grandmother, who has become a “surrogate mother.

Speaking in a video for human rights charity Redress, her husband Richard Ratcliffe said: “Gabriella had a year and a half with one mummy.

“She had her whole life taken away and she was with her grandparents, and there’s a way in which her grandmother has become a surrogate mum to her.

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“So it’s one thing to bring Gabriella and Nazanin home and there’s some sort of continuity, but to put that little girl twice through a situation where she loses her mum, it’s a big call.”

Nazanin told Richard: “I am broken for not having her with me. I cannot take it anymore. I want to be home with her for her third birthday.

“When I think like this and I realise I can’t do anything about it, I sob every night, every day.

“She keeps asking me why I can’t go to Manamy’s (grandma’s) house with her now. I have no answer to it.”

Last year, the Ham&High covered a protest party which Richard held for Gabriella’s second birthday.

He had hoped that Nazanin would be released soon, but in April this year, she lost a Supreme Court appeal against her five year sentence.

Nazanin, who trained media workers as part of her role with Thomson Reuters, is accused of being a member of an organisation working against national security.

Richard has called on our government to protect his wife and child - and treat it as a “diplomatic incident.”

Iran has arrested several dual nationals in the last couple of years.