Nazanin wins human rights award for bravery while detained in Iran

Nazanin's family says the award also recognises other UK-Iranian dual nationals held in Tehran

Nazanin's family says the award also recognises other UK-Iranian dual nationals held in Tehran - Credit: PA

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has won an award in London for her bravery, as her detention in Iran continues.

The West Hampstead mother received the Courage Under Fire prize at this year’s Magnitsky Human Rights Awards.

Redress, an NGO campaigning for the return of Nazanin, says the award “recognises the injustice Nazanin has suffered as a pawn of international diplomacy”.

It comes after her husband Richard Ratcliffe ended his second hunger strike, this time for 21 days, to try and break the political impasse to bring Nazanin home.  

“Nazanin was very pleased to hear of this award, for herself but also for all the others detained in Iran that you don’t get to hear about," Richard said.

“The Iranian regime gets away with terrible crimes that thrive in darkness where accountability should be.” 

He added: “All our family are very proud of this award."

Since Richard’s hunger strike, Boris Johnson has said it is "worth considering" paying a £400m historic debt to Iran by sending a plane full of cash to Tehran.

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The prime minister has been pressured to break the longstanding political deadlock by MPs including Tulip Siddiq, Sir Keir Starmer and Jeremy Hunt.

Richard Ratcliffe on hunger strike outside the Foreign Office

Richard Ratcliffe on hunger strike outside the Foreign Office - Credit: PA

Nazanin, 43, mother of a seven-year-old girl, was arrested in Tehran in 2016 after being accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government – charges always denied and widely refuted. 

William Browder, head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, said: “Nobody should ever be put in a situation like this, but in spite of the pressure, she has proven how powerful she can be even in the most powerless situation.  

“Her hostage takers should understand that their crimes won’t go unpunished.” 

Rupert Skilbeck, director of Redress, said: “This award is a timely reminder of the resilience and courage shown by many survivors of torture in the face of the most brutal human rights abuses.” 

The Magnitsky Awards began in 2015 to recognise brave journalists, politicians and activists in the field of human rights.  

They are named after Sergei Magnitsky, a tax adviser who exposed corruption by the Russian government and later died in state custody aged 37 after being denied medical treatment. 

Previous recipients of the award include Boris Nemtsov, Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Oleg Sentsov and John McCain.