Home / Entertainment / Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe begins new hunger strike in protest at her ‘unfair imprisonment’ in Iran
British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (pictured with daughter Gabriela) jailed in Iran on spying charges has began a new hunger strike

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe begins new hunger strike in protest at her ‘unfair imprisonment’ in Iran

British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe begins a new hunger strike in protest at her ‘unfair imprisonment’ in Iran as her daughter turns five

  • British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has begun a new hunger strike
  • The mother is protesting her ‘unfair imprisonment’ in Tehran’s Evin Prison
  • Her husband said: ‘This is something she had been threatening for a while’ 
  • Her protest comes as the couple’s daughter Gabriela turned five-years-old 
  • Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 and jailed on spying charges 
  • She was granted diplomatic protection, but Tehran refuses to acknowledge it

British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe jailed in Iran on spying charges has began a new hunger strike.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said in a statement on Saturday that he received a phone call from his wife telling him she informed the Iranian judiciary she has stopped taking food in protest of her ‘unfair imprisonment’.

He said that he would join his charity worker wife for the duration of her protest and not eat (only drink water) while in London. 

Mr Ratcliffe said Nazanin, who is serving a five-year sentence in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, sounded ‘nervous, but calm’ when she spoke to him from prison.

British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (pictured with daughter Gabriela) jailed in Iran on spying charges has began a new hunger strike

‘This is something she had been threatening for a while,’ Mr Ratcliffe said. 

‘Her demand from the strike, she said, is for unconditional release. She has long been eligible for it. I do not know the response from the Iranian authorities,’ he said.  

In March this year, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) granted Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protect, but Tehran has refused to acknowledge her dual nationality

In March this year, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) granted Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protect, but Tehran has refused to acknowledge her dual nationality

Mr Ratcliffe said: ‘Nazanin had vowed that if we passed Gabriella’s fifth birthday with her still inside, then she would do something – to mark to both governments that “enough is enough”. This really has gone on too long.’

Their daughter, Gabriella, has not been allowed to leave Iran following her mother’s arrest in 2016 and is living with her grandparents.

Mr Ratcliffe said he had previously been planning a ‘small event’ outside the Iranian embassy in London to mark Gabriella’s birthday.  

‘Given Nazanin’s decision, I will also begin a continual vigil in front of the Iranian embassy, perhaps occasionally joined by friends and family,’ he said.

‘During this vigil I will also not eat, and will continue this fast until such time as her hunger strike ends.

‘I vowed last time that if she ever went on hunger strike again, we would not leave her to go through this ordeal alone.’ 

In March this year, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt granted Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protect, but Tehran has refused to acknowledge her dual nationality.  

Back in January, she refused food for three days in protest at the decision of the prison authorities to deny her access to medical treatment.

Richard Ratcliffe (pictured protesting outside the Iranian Embassy in London his wife informed the Iranian judiciary she has stopped taking food in protest of her 'unfair imprisonment'

Richard Ratcliffe (pictured protesting outside the Iranian Embassy in London his wife informed the Iranian judiciary she has stopped taking food in protest of her ‘unfair imprisonment’

Mr Ratcliffe (pictured) said: 'This is something she had been threatening for a while. Her demand from the strike, she said, is for unconditional release. She has long been eligible for it. I do not know the response from the Iranian authorities'

 Mr Ratcliffe (pictured) said: ‘This is something she had been threatening for a while. Her demand from the strike, she said, is for unconditional release. She has long been eligible for it. I do not know the response from the Iranian authorities’

Mr Ratcliffe, who is calling for his wife’s immediate release, urged the Iranian authorities to allow British embassy officials to visit her to check on her health.

He said that if she was not freed within the next few weeks, he wanted the Iranians to grant a visa so he could visit her himself.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested on April 3 2016 at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport as she prepared to board a plane with Gabriella back to the UK after visiting relatives. 

Amnesty International UK’s director Kate Allen said her plight was ‘truly heartbreaking’.

‘Nazanin is a prisoner of conscience, unfairly jailed after a sham trial and subjected to all manner of torments – including months in solitary confinement and endless game-playing over whether she would receive vital medical care,’ she said.

‘It’s shocking that it’s come to this, and we and countless people across the country fervently hope the Iranian authorities will now finally do the right thing and release Nazanin.’

Statement from Richard Ratcliffe 

Hunger Strike and Vigil 

Today I received a phone call from Nazanin in prison. She had informed the Judiciary that she has begun a new hunger strike (she will drink water) – to protest at her continuing unfair imprisonment.

This is something she had been threatening for a while. Nazanin had vowed that if we passed Gabriella’s fifth birthday with her still inside, then she would do something – to mark to both governments – that enough is enough. This really has gone on too long.

Today she sounded nervous, but calm. Her demand from the strike, she said, is for unconditional release. She has long been eligible for it.

I do not know the response from the Iranian authorities.

We were planning a small event in front of the Iranian Embassy to mark Gabriella’s birthday – I remember marking her second birthday there while we didn’t even know where Nazanin was, and now here we are marking her fifth.

Given Nazanin’s decision, later today I will also begin a continual vigil in front of the Iranian Embassy, perhaps occasionally joined by friends and family. During this vigil I will also not eat, and will continue this fast until such time as her hunger strike ends.

I vowed last time that if she ever went on hunger strike again, we would not leave her to go through this ordeal alone.

My requests to the Iranian authorities for my fast are:

1. For Nazanin’s immediate release.

2. For an immediate visit to Nazanin by the British Embassy to check on her health – after 3 years it is an outrage this continues to be blocked by Iran.

3. If no release is granted to her in the next few weeks, a visa for me to go to Iran.

For those available to join, we aim organise an event next Saturday in front of the Iranian Embassy in London, at midday. Details will be on the Free Nazanin Facebook page.

Further actions will also be coordinated, with Change and Amnesty.

Thank you for all your care.

  

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