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Free Nazanin: Gabriella to be home before Christmas while Nazanin falls before Health Commission meeting

PUBLISHED: 08:33 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:39 08 October 2019

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reunited with daughter Gabriella. Picture: Free Nazanin Campaign

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe reunited with daughter Gabriella. Picture: Free Nazanin Campaign

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Days after writing an impassioned letter to the "mothers of Iran", Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe collapsed as she appeared before the Iranian government's health commission - which is still due to rule on her fitness to remain in prison.

Gabriella, four, holds a letter to Boris Johnson pleading with the foreign secretary to secure Nazanin's release so she can spend her fourth birthday with her mother. Instead, Nazanin spent the day in jail. Picture: Ratcliffe familyGabriella, four, holds a letter to Boris Johnson pleading with the foreign secretary to secure Nazanin's release so she can spend her fourth birthday with her mother. Instead, Nazanin spent the day in jail. Picture: Ratcliffe family

Nazanin wrote the letter - which confirmed the family's plans to bring daughter Gabriella back to the UK, last week.

On Monday morning, she "fell just outside the door" of the meeting with four health commissioners, her husband Richard said.

In the letter, Nazanin was responding to news of the US release of Iranian mum Negar Ghodskani and discusses the "daunting" prospect of daughter Gabriella returning to England.

Speaking to the Ham&High after Nazanin's it was published, Richard confirmed the current plan was to bring Gabriella back to the UK "I would hope, markedly before Christmas".

Nazanin wrote: "I have already been made to endure three quarters of this sentence, despite my begging and tears behind bars, despite my baby being denied her parents across such important years."

She continued by, for the first time in her own words, discussing Gabriella's expected return to London.

She writes: "In the near future, my baby will leave me to go to her father and start school in the UK. It will be a daunting trip for her travelling, and for me left behind.

"And the authorities who hold me will watch on, unmoved at the injustice of separation. That first day of school not for me."

Richard added: "Clearly, when Gabriella goes that will have a huge impact on Nazanin.

"She has able to write the letter, she's been able to put her thoughts down at least. But mentally she's shot and physically, she's not getting any treatment."

Richard was anxious of how Nazanin would cope once Gabriella is flown back to this country.

He said: "I think it'll get harder as we build up to her departure. Then there'll be days of grieving and we'll just have to see.

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"Hopefully though, they'll still come out together. But if not, hopefully the worst thing to happen will have happened and she'll be able to hold herself together."

The West Hampstead woman, who has been in Evin Prison for more than 1,250 days, goes on to detail how her "heart pounds much more than usual" every Sunday when she is able to see Gabriella - who has lived with her grandparents since Nazanin was arrested while the pair were on holiday in 2016.

Nazanin also referred to being "put on sale" by the Iranian authorities after during the UN's General Assembly, the foreign minister Javad Zarif was, in Richard Ratcliffe's words, "going around saying 'we are willing to discuss this if we get what we want'".

Richard said: "It was brazen, he clearly thought he could come to the UN and market a hostage."

The UNGA also saw the launch of the Families Alliance Against State Hostage Taking, a pressure group comprising relations of those imprisoned in Iran. The group has been set up to lobby governments to deal more robustly with Iran.

Richard added: "It should be clear what's going on, there's been too much blaming victims - they are being held as hostages.

"We need to step forward and recognise that."

Over the weekend one of Nazanin's cellmates, the British-Australian dual-national Jolie King was released from prison along with her Australian boyfriend Mark Firkin.

Ms King and Mr Firkin were arrested three months ago after having been arrested while travelling after flying a drone near a military base.

Their release, which came with the pair yet to face a court hearing, was secured as Australia returned scientist Reza Dehbashi - who had been imprisoned over the purchase of a "defence system" for use in Iran.

Since Ms King was released, Nazanin has again pleaded for her own, while after the traumatic visit with the health commissioners, she "cried for an hour".

On Monday evening, Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq again raised Nazanin's case in parliament. She said she was "genuinely concerned about my constituent's wellbeing" and added: "I want the Prime Minister and ministers of his Government to be able to look in the mirror in years to come and say they did everything possible to ensure my constituent did not die in prison in Iran and they bought her back home."

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