Richard and Gabriella carve pumpkins on another Halloween without Nazanin

Richard Ratcliffe on hunger strike, demanding the UK government brings Nazanin home

Richard Ratcliffe on hunger strike, demanding the UK government brings Nazanin home - Credit: Archant/PA

As Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe spent her sixth Halloween detained in Iran, her daughter Gabriella spent half term carving pumpkins outside the Foreign Office.

The seven-year-old joined her dad Richard Ratcliffe, who has spent more than 10 days on his second hunger strike to try to bring his wife home to West Hampstead.

Nazanin has spent more than 2,000 days away from her husband and daughter since being held in Iran since 2016, after being accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

In April she was given a further sentence of a year. The charges against her have always been widely disputed.

For Halloween this year Richard and Gabriella decorated pumpkins amid downpours with family and friends from school.

As Richard sat on his chair outside his tent from which he sleeps, pitched up on the concrete, Gabriella sat on his lap and joked with him about how long he had actually spent on hunger strike.

The pair occupied a small space on King Charles Street surrounded by pumpkins, placards and stones colourfully painted in Nazanin’s name.

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After Richard instigated a game of football with Gabriella and her friends, he told the Ham&High the local backing of West Hampstead, alongside widespread international support, is what keeps him going.  

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who's come down these last few days to share in our story and offer solidarity, bring mint tea, or a pair of socks that someone brought. But also just to keep us going, to keep letting us know we're not alone. 

“It is a really remarkable thing that people share and care. I do feel that in many ways we’re lucky to be living in West Hampstead.  

“It does take a village to bring people home and I’m really glad that my village is West Hampstead.”

Richard called for the UK government to find the political solution with Iran to secure Nazanin’s release, urging Whitehall to change its so far unsuccessful approach. He said that Gabriella “just wants a normal life”.   

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq added: “It should never have come to this. It’s time for the government to listen to the demands of Nazanin’s family, including paying the debt we owe to Iran, and finally bring her home.”

Stones painted in support of the campaign to Free Nazanin

Stones painted in support of the campaign to Free Nazanin - Credit: Archant

A pumpkin carved in Nazanin's name

A pumpkin carved in Nazanin's name - Credit: Archant

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