‘What will you do to save this woman’s life?’: MP urges ‘decisive action’ as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has food and phone calls cut
PUBLISHED: 18:18 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 18:44 07 January 2019
Days after announcing she will embark on a hunger strike later in January, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has had her weekly phone call with husband Richard blocked and been given a decreased food ration.
The @FreeNazanin Twitter account run by her family confirmed on Sunday that the imprisoned West Hampstead mum had her regular Sunday phone call with husband Richard cancelled, although it is understood that they were able to speak briefly this morning.
It said: “Following announcement of a planned hunger strike, Iranian authorities have cancelled Nazanin’s weekly call with her husband and imposed restrictions on all other calls #FreeNazanin.”
Meanwhile, in parliament this afternoon Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq asked the foreign office: “The truth is this is now a matter of life and death. Tough rhetoric will not do anything.
“What we need now is decisive action from our government to make sure that my constituent Nazanin comes home alive to West Hampstead.”
Ms Siddiq also urged the Foreign Office to come to a decision on whether or not it will grant Nazanin diplomatic immunity.
Foreign Officer minister Alistair Burt responded. He said: “Each individual action the FCO takes is judged to be in their best interests. There is constant communication. He said the request for diplomatic protection is still being considered.
He added: “This matter is always, always under consideration.
“Her access to medical care at present bearing in mind her condition is a matter of supreme importance to the United Kingdom.”
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry called the cutting of phone calls and food rations a “cruel, vengeful response”.
“This would be inhumane treatment of any prisoner but to pile this on an innocent woman whose medical, mental and physical health is already suffering is nothing but barbaric.”
In a statement made from Iran’s Evin prison jointly with fellow political prisoner Nargess Mohamadi, Nazanin announced on Wednesday last week that she would be beginning a hunger strike on January 14 unless she was granted medical treatment. She has complained of lumps in her breast and a need for psychiatric care. But she has not been allowed to that has not been allowed. even though it was signed off by the prison’s own doctor.
Nazanin and Nargess wrote a letter which was published and translated by the Tehran-based Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC).
They wrote: “in protest to this illegal, inhuman and unlawful behaviour, and to express our concerns for our health and survival at this denial of specialist treatment, despite taking daily medicines, we will go on hunger strike from 14.01.2019 to 16.01.2019.”