Hampstead children sing carols for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran

Carols for Nazanin, crowd of supporters gather on Whitehall opposite Downing Street to sing carols f

Carols for Nazanin, crowd of supporters gather on Whitehall opposite Downing Street to sing carols for Nazanin and call again for government intervention to secure her release. All photos are by Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of well-wishers sung Christmas carols outside Downing Street with Nazanin’s family to call on the British government to do more


Around 300 children and parent lifted clear voices in uplifting song, to call on the British government to do more to free West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe imprisoned in Tehran.

Husband Richard Ratcliffe said Nazanin has been placed back in solitary confinement.

Organised by north London mothers group, Pramstead, young children clutched blue and silver tinsel and sang Oh Little Child of Bethlehem and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Operatic singer Chelsea Hart led the carols, accompanied on a violin, as hundreds of children, wrapped up warmly, clutched their carol sheets outside No.10 Downing Street.


Nazanin’s two-year-old daughter Gabriella was watching the carols over video link.

Richard, an accountant, has campaigned for Nazanin’s release since she was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3 as she was returning from a family holiday.

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She was jailed and Gabriella’s passport was seized.

Nazanin, who worked as a media charity worker in Iran, was sentenced to five years imprisonment on offences of national security but the charges are still secret.

Speaking at the carol service, Richard said: “It’s moments like this that you just discover the kindness that’s out there and that’s a big part of Christmas, that’s a big part of family, and I thank you all – thank you all for coming, thank you for all your care.”

He recently revealed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have given Nazanin an ultimatum – She must either allow her daughter, Gabriella, to stay with her in prison up to three days a week, or sign a disclaimer waiving her right to see her daughter.

Gabriella is currently staying with her grandparents in Iran.

Richard fears that Nazanin will be in jail for her 38th birthday on Boxing Day.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry called on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Theresa May to act at the Downing Street carol service.

She told the crowd of hopeful parents and children: “You may feel that singing a carol may make no difference, but I tell you, it lights a light and that light expands.”

Prof Homa Hoodfar, a dual national Canadian Iranian who was released from Tehran’s Evin prison in September, attended the carols to support Nazanin.

She spent one night with Nazanin, who she described as “upset” and missing her daughter.