Government slams Iran’s ‘dire’ human rights as jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe waits on appeal

Nazanin's two-year-old daughter, Gabriella, was turned away from visiting her mum in jail last week

Nazanin's two-year-old daughter, Gabriella, was turned away from visiting her mum in jail last week - Credit: Archant

In a letter addressed to Hampstead residents, the foreign office revealed Prime Minister Theresa May has put her concerns about Nazanin in writing to the Iranian President

Nazanin, Richard and daughter Gabriella on holiday together in Shiraz before the arrest

Nazanin, Richard and daughter Gabriella on holiday together in Shiraz before the arrest - Credit: Archant

West Hampstead mum Nazanin, 38, an Anglo-Iranian dual national, is currently serving a five year sentence in Evin jail in Tehran after being arrested following a family holiday in April last year.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, an accountant, is desperately awaiting the results of an appeal held last week by the Iranian Revolutionary Court.

In response to a letter sent by solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui on behalf of Hampstead residents, the Foreign Office said they have repeatedly requested consular access to Nazanin.

In the letter, seen by the Ham&High, a member of the consular team writes: “Although Iran does not recognise dual nationality, this is not the case in the UK.

“We consider Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe to be a British national. We have repeatedly requested that the Iranian authorities grant us consular access to her so that we can check on her welfare.”

“The Government takes human rights and the rule of law very seriously. The human rights situation in Iran remains dire and we are determined to continue to hold the government to account.

Most Read

“We have frequently released statements condemning the human rights situation in Iran and have joined action led by the international community.

“We have also designated over 80 Iranians responsible for human rights violations under EU sanctions, helped establish a UN Special Rapporteur on Iran human rights and lobbied at the UN for the adoption of human rights resolutions on Iran.

“We raise human rights in our dialogue with Iran at every opportunity.

“We will continue to raise our strong concerns about all dual British/Iranian prisoners in Iran, including Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, at the highest levels in both London and Tehran.”

The letter says that Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson raised Nazanin’s case with their Iranian counterparts in September, at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

It adds: “The Prime Minister followed up her concerns in writing to President Rouhani on October 3 and the British Ambassador to Tehran raises the case at every opportunity.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said they are ready to help bring home Nazanin’s two-year-old daughter Gabriella, who is currently with living with her grandparents in Iran after her passport was confiscated.

Gabriella was turned away from seeing her mum last week, leaving her in tears.

The family were granted a visit a few days ago although they have no word on the result of the appeal.

Nazanin was convicted under “secret charges” on April 3 and has been in jail ever since.

She worked as an international media charity worker with the Thomson Reuters foundation, which does not operate directly or indirectly in Iran.

– Amnesty International are organising a candlelit vigil for Nazanin in front of the Iranian Embassy on Jan 16th, 4.30-6.30pm. They are going to attempt to deliver some of the letters sent to Nazanin, which the prison authorities returned unopened. Richard will deliver a letter for President Rouhani.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter