Protest to mark jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s second Mother’s Day kept from family

Nazanin and Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe in happier times.

Nazanin and Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe in happier times. - Credit: Archant

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has called on families to paint a pebble in a show of support for his jailed wife as she endures a second Mother’s Day in an Iranian prison.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with daughter Gabriella (Picture: Richard Ratcliffe)

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with daughter Gabriella (Picture: Richard Ratcliffe) - Credit: Richard Ratcliffe

Richard Ratcliffe and Free Nazanin campaigners are asking supporters, especially those with children, to join them this Mother’s Day weekend to paint stones for Nazanin.

An open letter to the Foreign Secretary will also be read out to remind Boris Johnson of a promise he made in December “to leave no stone unturned”.

The aim is to paint 705 in total to represent the number of days Nazanin has been jailed.

Mr Ratcliffe said: “It has been a long time since we have had a normal Mother’s Day. The denial of motherhood is of course what Nazanin most resents: that she has not been able to watch her baby grow up.

The Ratcliffe family on a past holiday in Shiraz.

The Ratcliffe family on a past holiday in Shiraz. - Credit: Archant

“But we do not want the event to have a tone of resentment – rather to celebrate how she and Gabriella hold onto that moether-daughter bond in the visiting room, through creativity and care, and a colourful reminder of hope for a better day,” he added.

Further events are planned with comedian Shappi Khorsandi hosting a sold out comedy gala for Redress and Amnesty on Tuesday April 3, the second anniversary of Nazanin’s detainment, with comics Al Murray, Sara Pascoe and Mark Steel among the acts appearing on stage.

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And on April 2 campaigners plan to hold an event in Fortune Green to mark Nazanin’s second year in prison.

Last year people were invited to write one day of freedom ideas to hang on the tree using yellow ribbons.

Days later Mr Ratcliffe spoke of his shock at learning the tree to which the messages had been attached was sabotaged.

This year supporters will be asked to write their favourite jokes or things that make them smile to hang on the tree.

A call will be made on social media for jokes to be sent in if people are unable to make it.

Nazanin and her daughter Gabriella were seized at Tehran airport on April 3 2016 as they were returning from a family holiday in Iran.

The charity worker was jailed for five years for plotting against the state after a secret trial.

Last month supporters left letters of support on the steps of the Iranian embassy in London during a visit by the country’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi in the UK on a ‘relations building’ exercise.

It followed members of the Free Nazanin campaign saying the West Hampstead mum was told by a judge in Iran her continued imprisonment was because of “a dispute” over how interest rate on a historic debt was calculated.

Mr Ratcliffe and supporters will meet opposite the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on King Charles Street in Whitehall at midday on Saturday.