Hope as United Nations calls on Iran to release West Hampstead mum Nazanin

The couple with their newborn baby Gabriella in West Hampstead

The couple with their newborn baby Gabriella in West Hampstead - Credit: Archant

The UN body has called on Iran to immediately release and compensate Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian national held in Iran, adding momentum to the campaign

From l-r, Carla Ferstman from human rights organisation Redress, husband Richard Ratcliffe, Monique

From l-r, Carla Ferstman from human rights organisation Redress, husband Richard Ratcliffe, Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn - Credit: Archant

The United Nations working group on arbitrary detention announced its findings that Nazanin’s imprisonment is abitrary and that she has been denied a fair trial.

It also found Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was discriminated against as a dual Iranian-British national.

And it expressed its grave concern about Nazanin’s deteriorating health since her arrest and detention, for which she has not received medical care. They also believe Nazanin’s detention is part of a broader pattern of detaining people with dual nationalities in Iran.

At a press conference today, husband Richard Ratcliffe appeared slightly nervous but resolute and cautiously optimistic.

He is calling on the British government to follow the UN in condemning Nazanin’s arbitrary confinement and to bring her home.

Richard said that when he last spoke to Nazanin, last week, he was relieved to find her “angry” that he, as her husband, as well as the British government, had not yet managed to bring her home.

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He said: “I take strength at the fact she is well enough to be angry.”

Her fighting spirit has returned, in contrast to his last “awful, desolate” phone call with her.

Accountant Richard told international press, including France’s Libération and BBC Persia, that his daughter no longer remembers how to speak English and instead speaks Farsi when he chats to her on Skype.

He added: “she still calls out in the middle of the night for her mum.”

As reported in the Ham&High, Nazanin was arrested by the Iranian authorities when trying to leave for England, after visiting her family in March 2016 with her daughter Gabriella, now two.

Gabriella remains in Iran as her British passport has been confiscated.

Last month Nazanin was sentenced to five years in prison following a secret trial.

The family have appealed Nazanin’s detention - but Richard described today how the Iranian government has been “opaque” and there is no word as to whether Nazanin will have her day in court, or be pushed in front of an administrative panel.

Richard is now calling on Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to take firm action.

Carla Ferstman from human rights organisation, Redress, which brought the claim to the UN, repeated the calls.

Nazanin was a Thomson Reuters Foundation charity worker and the CEO, Monique Villa, chaired the press meeting. Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, also spoke.

Richard said: “I am grateful that the UN has taken such a strong stand. Last week 5 UN Special Rapporteurs described Nazanin’s case as a ‘mockery of justice’. Now the UN Working Group has called for her to be released, and compensated. The morality of our situation is clear. It is time for the UK Government to follow their lead.”

– For more on the story, see this week’s Ham&High.