Husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to refer her case to the United Nations

Nazanin with baby Gabriella.

Nazanin with baby Gabriella. - Credit: Archant

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is calling on United Nations to intervene in his wife’s case claiming the degrading cruel and inhumane way she has been treated in an Iranian jail amounts to torture.

Richard Ratcliffe is to refer her case to the UN special rapporteur on Torture in a desperate bid to bring an end to his wife’s extreme psychological torment inside Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Richard said that the Christmas period was “unbearable” for Nazanin and for him as their hopes were raised by false rumours and messages from Iranian officials that she would be released from prison in time for Christmas.

This followed a visit to Iran by foreign secretary Boris Johnson who promised to raise her case with Iranian authorities. Following the visit the family’s hopes were raised when her case papers were marked as “eligible for early release.”

But Richard said: “Over Christmas we were waiting and hoped. The Iranian embassy and prison guards were all giving us the messages that she would be home for Christmas, but it never happened.

“Nazanin spent Christmas Day in jail cooking Christmas pudding for her cellmates and I was with my parents, feeling very down. I was not in the mood to celebrate.

THe couple’s daughter Gabriella who lives with her grandparents in Tehran was unable to visit her mother on Christmas Day.

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Nazanin even spent her birthday on Boxing Day alone and was not allowed a cake that her family had bought. Gabriella had to blow out candles for her mother alone.

Richard said: “She was very very down. What she is going through amounts to psychological torture and I am calling on the special rapporteur to intervene before she is pushed too far and does something drastic to get out of her situation.”

He is concerned that when she is at her lowest, she might take her own life.

“To raise her hopes and then do nothing is inhumane.

As reported in the Ham&High, Nazanin was seized at Tehran Airport with daughter Gabriella on April 3 as they tried to return home from a family holiday to visit her parents. Gabriella is living with her grandparents while Nazanin has been sentenced to five years in jail for charges of plotting against the state, which she denies.

Since her arrest 22 months ago, Richard says Nazanin has spent eight and a half months in solitary confinement. “She was in a mess when she came out of solitary. This treatment amounts to torture.

The special rapporteur was appointed by the United Nationals human rights council to examine questions relevant to torture. It covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has signed up or not.

Its mandate includes:

*Transmitting urgent appeals to countries with regard to individuals reported to be at risk of torture,

* Undertaking fact-finding country visits; and

* Submitting annual reports too the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.