Jailed Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband demands meeting with Iranian ambassador
- Credit: Richard Ratcliffe
The husband of jailed mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has repeated his demand to meet the Iranian ambassador to the UK so he can attend a possible second trial of his wife.
Nazanin was arrested at Tehran airport on a return journey to London following a family visit with her daughter Gabriella in April 2016.
The British-Iranian, of Fortune Green Road, was later sentenced to five years at a secret trial on charges of plotting against Iran.
On Sunday, October 8 Nazanin was dragged back to court and told new charges had been brought by the Revolutionary Guard which could see the charity worker jailed for 16 more years.
Husband Richard Ratcliffe said: “Nazanin should not be subjected to another round of illegal trials without a family member present. I will again be pressing the Iranian embassy – should they take this to trial, that they coordinate with the Iranian judiciary, and that they issue me with a visa in time to be able to attend. It would be shameful for Nazanin to be alone again.”
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Campaigners and Nazanin’s UK family’s lawyers, Redress, sent a letter on Monday demanding a meeting with the ambassador which included a legal opinion from Dr Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Peace Prize winning lawyer and human rights activist, who set out a number of violations of Iranian law in the 38-year-old’s case.
In the letter Dr Ebadi points to a failure to use an arrest warrant, denying Nazanin access to a lawyer during her interrogation and a number of broken promises to release her if she cooperated with her captors and threatening heavy sentences if she did not.
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She also noted at her first trial Nazanin wasn’t allowed to speak, but told to write down a defence she was forced to share with her interrogators whilst blindfolded.
It also emerged the opinion was shared with the UK government a month ago in what campaigners say was an attempt to get official acknowledgement of the abuse of Nazanin’s rights.
Richard said: “A government’s first duty is to protect its citizens – from torture, from being abused in political games. This comes before attempts to pursue business deals with international companies. This applies equally to the governments of Iran and the UK.”
In the meeting Richard said he would insist the Iranian government condemn Nazanin’s detention as illegal and demand a visa to attend the trial.
And in the latest call between the couple Nazanin said she felt a “profound” sadness and told her husband she has little appetite.