NEW VIDEO: West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe jailed in Iran is 'deeply moved'by Hampstead community march in her name.
PUBLISHED: 18:44 07 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:44 08 December 2016
We have created this moving tribute video of the heartwarming day a community came together and marched to free West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe from jail in Iran.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe, of Fortune Green Road, spoke to Nazanin in a snatched conversation from her cell last weekend, on the eve of the march.
He said: “I even got to tell Nazanin of the march and all the messages we are receiving. She was deeply moved.”
The Ham&High has put together this video snapshot of the march which saw 200 people come together to demand that Nazanin, husband Richard and two-year-old daughter Gabriella are reunited in time for Christmas.
Hampstead actor Tom Conti, organisers from the community and others taking part describe on camera their feelings about the campaign.
Nazanin's husband Richard Ratcliffe and Ham&High editor Emily Banks
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, Tom Conti, Linda Grove and Emily Banks outside 10 Downing Street.
Messages of support for Nazanin were handed in to the Foreign Office.
Hampstead mums march along Piccadilly
The protest marches past the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square
Co-organiser Linda Grove (right) marches side by side with Nazanin's mother-in-law Barbara Ratcliffe
Hampstead mums including Anna Nash-Steer and baby Lucy chant Free Nazanin slogans on Parliament Square
After delivering letters to both Number 10 and the Foreign Office the protestors lined up in Parliament Square to call for Nazanin to be freed.
Delivering a letter to the Foreign Office from left Linda Grove, Jessica Learmond-Criqui, Tom Conti and Emily Banks
Demonstrators line up directly opposite the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and call for both Theresa May and Boris Johnson to take some action.
. Co organiser Linda Grove with a card of messages that were handed in to the Foreign Office
. Demonstrators line up opposite Downing Street and call on Theresa May to bring Nazanin home
Hampstead mums and children set off from Green Park
Protesters march alongside Richard Ratcliffe with his mother Barbara Ratcliffe
March for Nazanin
“We mostly met as strangers, but within a short time we were linking arms and shouting with gusto chants for Nazanin Ratcliffe.”
These are the words of march co-organiser Linda Grove which sums up the heart warming feeling of a community coming together for one of its own.
There were hundreds holding banners, chanting and marching together from Green Park to the House of Commons via Downing Street and the Foreign Office.
The group included mums pushing buggies or with babes in arms, grandmothers, grandfathers, plus former colleagues and old friends of the Ratcliffe family.
Others had just read about Nazanin’s plight on social media and felt they had to be there.
As reported in the Ham&High, Thomson Reuters charity worker Nazanin and Gabriella, now two, were seized at Tehran airport on April 3 as they returned from a family holiday to visit her parents in Iran.
Nazanin, who has dual Anglo-Iranian nationality, was thrown in jail and Gabriella’s passport was seized, leaving her trapped in Iran where she is being cared for by her grandparents.
In September, Nazanin was sentenced to five years in jail by a court on unspecified ‘secret’ charges.
Accountant Richard believes Nazanin is being held as a bargaining tool by the Iranian government following a revelation that the British government owes Iran £500million over military contracts dating back decades.
He has been campaigning tirelessly for her release and has started a petition which has 843,000 signatures here.
While it is uncertain what effect this Hampstead community backlash will have on Iran or even the British government, if nothing else it has brought a glimmer of hope to Nazanin.
Robin Zaragova, from Facebook group Hampstead Mums, of which Nazanin was a member, said: “Collectively, we the women of Hampstead Mums are extremely angered by the situation with Nazanin’s incarceration. It is difficult to know how to address such a complicated issue, but we felt energized by being able to participate in the march today and do our small part. It was beautiful to see so many people come together for the common cause. But it’s not enough. We’re committed to doing everything we can to support Richard and help him bring his family home.”
Organiser Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who led the march through London with her megaphone, said: ““The sunshine on our faces and light in our hearts helped us to raise the roof with our voices demanding Nazanin and Gabriella’s return home.
“I am so grateful to everyone from coming - some travelled many miles to join us. It was heartwarming. Let’s hope that it shifts the scales in Nazanin and Gabriella’s favour.”
The video tribute was created by Ham&High photographer Polly Hancock, who also photographed the march.