Free Nazanin: EU Parliament reiterates demand for Nazanin Zaghari’s unconditional release in Iran and condemns treatment of activists

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in prison since 2016. Picture: Family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in prison since 2016. Picture: Family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The European Parliament today passed a resolution calling on the Iranian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally” release all dual-nationals and human rights campaigners jailed as political prisoners – including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

London MEP Luisa Porritt. Picture: Liberal Democrats

London MEP Luisa Porritt. Picture: Liberal Democrats - Credit: Archant

West Hampstead's Nazanin was frequently name-checked during the debate, which also highlighted the death of 'the blue girl' Sahar Khodayari who died after setting fire to herself outside of an Iranian court when she was jailed for attending a football match.

Camden's own London MEP Luisa Porritt was one of the writers of the motion in her capacity as deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the EU parliament.

Luisa told the parliament: "My constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual EU-Iranian national, has been unlawfully imprisoned in Iran for more than 1,200 days.

"Having initially been refused access to a trial for months, she then faced one by a kangaroo court that was neither free nor fair."

Nazanin is one of "at least six" EU-Iranian dual-nationals currently imprisoned in Iran.

Luisa also made reference to the Nazanin's lack of adequate healthcare, and the limitations on international phone calls and family visits imposed last month. She said this was "tantamount to state hostage taking".

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Echoing Richard Ratcliffe's concerns that Brexit has sidelined Nazanin's case, she added: "In circumstances such as these, the EU must make its powerful voice heard."

During the debate, MEPs also referred to Crouch End's Aras Amiri, who - though not a British national - is also imprisoned in Tehran on spying charges.

The motion was voted through by 608 of the MEPs sitting, seven voted it down and 46 abstained.

The former Polish ambassador to Iran, now MEP Witold Waszczykowski was one of the other politicians to speak in the debate.

He said: "I am not happy that we have to discuss the misbehaviour of Iran's authorities. We expect Iran to respect the human rights of Iranian citizens and those visiting the country."

"We expect it to stop this."

In August, Richard Ratcliffe told this newspaper that if the limit on visits was not relaxed, Nazanin would "be in a very vulnerable place" and likely to consider another hunger strike sooner than she may have otherwise.

The European Parliament has previously passed resolutions in solidarity with and calling for the release of imprisoned EU citizens in Iran including Nazanin - most recently in May 2018.