Husband Richard Ratcliffe's moving bridge tribute for wife Nazanin trapped in Iran
PUBLISHED: 17:55 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 10:11 16 August 2016
Husband Richard Ratcliffe attaches 133 padlocks onto the Millenium Bridge on the couple's 7th wedding anniversary - one for every day wife Nazanin has been locked in an Iranian jail.
When on their wedding day seven years ago Richard and Nazanin Ratcliffe promised to love each other “for better or for worse” the happy couple could never have imagined what that would mean.
But on Sunday, as West Hampstead husband and dad Richard faced their anniversary without wife Nazanin who was spending her 133rd day alone in an Iranian jail these words had a poignant new significance.
He said: “When we said for better or for worse, we never thought it would take us to this place. But this anniversary I wanted to say that even now I am glad of being with her every day. I know Nazanin sits now in prison worrying over what has happened to her family and work, made to feel guilty that she has brought trouble on them. But the better will come again. We will survive.”
On April 3 charity worker Nazanin, who has dual Iraninan and British nationality, was arrested with daughter Gabriella, two, at Tehran airport as they prepared to return home from visiting family in Iran.
Nazanin was thrown into jail without charge and Gabriella’s British passport was confiscated. She is now separated from both her parents and being looked after by her Iranian grandparents.
Around 30 of the couple’s friends and family joined Richard at London’s Millenium Bridge to lock 133 lovers’ padlocks and to tie coloured woollen memory knots on its railings.
They were joined by passers-by who stopped to see what was going on and were moved by the family’s tragic story.
Richard said: “Last weekend was Nazanin’s and my 7th wedding anniversary, the woollen one. It marks the 133rd day of Nazanin’s and Gabriella’s detention. 133 days that they have been kept away from me.”
“Amongst all the politics, today is a time for cherishing the beautiful person I married. I don’t always remember to say it clearly in my campaigning. But I am proud of Nazanin. I am proud that seven years ago she agreed to be my wife, and to build a home together. I am lucky that she has given us such a cheeky spirit in Gabriella, and that she has cherished her and me so keenly.”
The gathered supporters signed a book of messages which Richard is determined to show to Nazanin when he wins his battle to bring his family home.
Supporters were encouraged to tie their own memory knots at locations close to their own homes and to post the pictures online.
He said: “I really appreciated having friends and family around me on Sunday, as well as the care of so many people on social media.”
“These past months have reminded me that we survive thanks to the love around us. In the end that is what will bring Nazanin and Gabriella home. With the help of so many people around us this anniversary, we will not leave them trapped.”
He chose the Millenium Bridge as it was one of Nazanin’s favourite spots from the days when they went on walks as students.