Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Vigil to mark three years since she was jailed gives ‘hope’ of her release

Richard at the tree with family, friend and supporters. Picture: Polly Hancock

Richard at the tree with family, friend and supporters. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

The husband of jailed West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said yesterday’s vigil to mark three years since she was locked up gave “hope” that she wouldn’t spend another year inside.

Richard at the tree with family, friend and supporters. Picture: Polly Hancock

Richard at the tree with family, friend and supporters. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Speaking to the Ham&High after yesterday’s gathering at the “One Day Tree” in Fortune Green he said it was another difficult anniversary to mark.

Richard said: “It is important to me to face up to the reality that another year has passed. The tree has been the symbol of hope and that we will be here waiting for her.”

Haikus, poems and messages were hung from the tree with ribbons in a get-together attended by Nazanin’s former colleagues, along with Revd Joanthan Kester of Emmanuel Church in Lyncroft Gardens and local councillors.

“It was just to show her that she hasn’t been forgotten,” he said. “The event was quite uplifting, I spoke to her on the phone yesterday and she loved that it happened and that people still care.

Richard at the tree with family, friend and supporters. Picture: Polly Hancock

Richard at the tree with family, friend and supporters. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant


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“It’s just the day after where it hits you that it’s now year four. Gosh.”

He said Nazanin was in a “positive mood” when he spoke to her by phone on the day of the vigil. “I was expecting a fairly glum conversation as a few have been recently, but I think doing [the vigil] helped.”

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Nazanin was arrested in Tehran Airport on April 3 2016, and was jailed for plotting against the regime, which she denies.

At the weekend, Richard and Amnesty International delivered a Mother’s Day card to the Iranian Embassy in London to give to Nazanin. In March she was given diplomatic protection by Britain.

Richard at the tree with family, friend and supporters. Picture: Polly Hancock

Richard at the tree with family, friend and supporters. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Richard likened it to “the big brother in the playground who comes up and helps you,” but suspects he may have to prompt the government into further action.

There is now a plan to bring their daughter home, if Nazanin has not been released by Gabriella’s birthday on June 11. The four-year-old would then start school back in London.

Nazanin currently sees Gabriella twice a week, and was given a brief release from prison last year to see her on furlough.

Richard said: “She went a toddler, and will be coming back a little girl. She doesn’t speak English now which will be tough for her. We’re getting closer to make that decision but we have to be careful. There’s also the logistics of me going over there to get her.”

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