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Members of European Parliament condemn Iran and call for Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe’s release

PUBLISHED: 17:33 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:40 03 April 2017

Nazanin and Gabriella drawing together. Photo: Ratcliffe family

Nazanin and Gabriella drawing together. Photo: Ratcliffe family

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A cross-party group of almost 50 MEPs have signed a letter calling for the Iranian government to end the ‘inhumane conditions’ for dual national prisoners, including West Hampstead mum Nazanin.

The letter from the 49 MEPs calls on Iran’s Head of judiciary, Minister of Justice and the Head of Iran’s Council for human rights to intervene to bring Nazanin and two other dual national EU citizens home as a matter of urgency.

Nazanin, 38, a media worker with Thomson Reuters, was arrested on April 3 last year, as she was returning from a family holiday.

Her daughter, Gabriella, now two, had her passport confiscated, and she is currently living with her grandparents in Iran.

Julie Ward, MEP for the North West of England, signed the letter with 49 others.

It says: “We are writing to you as Members of the European Parliament, who are gravely concerned by the situation of dual EU-Iranian nationals being held prisoner in Iran on vaguely-worded charges, subject to unfair trials, as well as to inhumane conditions in prison, including the denial of medical care.

“In the context of the new emerging relationship of dialogue between Iran and Europe, we urge you to release all of these prisoners, and in the meantime, guarantee them improved conditions of detention.

“We would like to highlight to you the case of British-Iranian citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been detained since April 3, 2016.

“She was about to leave Iran to return to the UK after visiting her parents with her young daughter when she was arrested in Tehran.

“She spent a significant amount of time in solitary confinement and was not allowed access to a lawyer until three days before the start of her trial in August 2016.

“Her mental and physical health have suffered enormously in detention and she needs immediate admission to hospital for tests and treatment.

“In September 2016, following an unfair trial, she was sentenced to five years in prison for undisclosed charges.”

The MEPs are also calling on Iran to release Swedish-Iranian Ahmadreza Djalali and French-Iranian citizen Nazak Afshar.

Julie Ward MEP said: “One year on from Nazanin’s arrest, my colleagues and I pledge to continue our commitment to doing whatever we can to bring EU-Iranian citizens home to their families.

“The EU is an important platform for promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe and around the world, and British citizens have benefited enormously from our work in this respect.

“It is shameful that the UK government has done so little to secure Nazanin’s release, especially as she is the mother of a young British child.

“The EU is now developing an important relationship with Iran, and we would like to see human rights and the rule of law at the centre of this, including the release of these prisoners.”

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