Suicide fear for West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iranian jail.
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 November 2016
Fears are growing for the health and mental state of a West Hampstead mother who is being held in an Iranian jail after she went on hunger strike and wrote a suicide note.
Desperate husband Richard Ratcliffe revealed that she had written her family a “goodbye letter” from her cell and after five days of refusing to eat was in a frail and weak state.
When her Iranian mother was called in for an emergency visit by the prison, she was in such shock at her daughter’s condition that she passed out.
Mr Ratcliffe said his daughter Gabriella was also so distressed by the visit she became hysterical.
He said: “For a long time Nazanin has been suffering health concerns – pains in her hands and shoulders, blurred vision, little ability to eat or concentrate, unstoppable palpitations, less and less able to go on.
“In a phonecall she told me that she had written me a goodbye letter. She could not go on, she had stopped praying, stopped believing there was another way out. She asked me to remember her love for me, and to take good care of Gabriella.
“Nazanin briefly picked up for a couple of weeks, but recently again fell very low. Last week she went on hunger strike – the only card she has to play. On Friday (after five days) her family were asked to make an emergency family visit.
“The sight was enough for her mother to pass out. It sent Gabriella hysterical. Only at that point could she be persuaded to eat at least one meal in front of them. It was at least a stay of the impending.”
She has now ended her hunger strike but has still not been given proper medical treatment.
Philp Luther, from Amnesty International said: “The news of the decline in Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe’s health is deeply alarming. Her imprisonment on spurious ‘national security’ charges has been utterly unjust. Instead of prolonging her pain and suffering, the Iranian authorities must end her ordeal by releasing her immediately and unconditionally.”
“Her ordeal has caused her immense despair and suffering. It is shocking that the Iranian authorities are adding to her pain by failing to grant her adequate medical care.”
As reported in the Ham&High Mr Ratcliffe has been campaigning to reunite his family ever since 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 while Gabriella’s passport was seized leaving her trapped in Iran and being looked after by her grandparents.
In September hopes for her release were dashed when she was sentenced to five years in jail by a court on secret unspecified charges.
Mr Ratcliffe told the Foreign Office of the suicide letter and has urged Boris Johnson to intervene.
He said: “I feel I have given the government time enough to solve this slowly and quietly. Now the government needs to act before this gets worse.
“The treatment of my wife brings the Iranian authorities shame – to use a mother and baby as business collateral in this way, for the wider pressures put on her and her family. I have said it is far from the principles of Islam.
He believes Nazanin is being held as a bargaining tool by the Iranian government and these fears have been increased by a revelation that the British government has been embroiled with a row with the Iranian government who accuse the British of owing £500million over some military equipment.
Mr Ratcliffe said: “However ruthless the Iranian actions, allowing Nazanin to be treated this way, the continuing silence over her fate - holds a mirror up to the UK. I accuse my government of not having my family’s best interests at heart.”
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