Help get Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe home
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British mum imprisoned in Iran. She’s serving a five-year prison sentence but she hasn’t committed any crime.
Nazanin was recently told she could face new charges and potentially even longer in prison, separated from her young daughter and husband. She is in poor mental and physical health. Ask the Iranian authorities to urgently free Nazanin.
Help get Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe home
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been imprisoned in Iran for over two years on bogus charges. She hasn’t committed any crime.
Nazanin has been told that she could be charged again and face another trial imminently, which may result in an even longer prison sentence.
The UK government has called for Nazanin’s freedom, and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he’ll do all he can to secure her release. Now we need the Iranian authorities to let Nazanin return home to the UK and be reunited with her family.
Call on Iran to free Nazanin.
Who is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe?
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a 39-year-old British-Iranian woman, who ordinarily lives with her husband and young daughter in London.
She works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a UK-based media charity. This has been used against her as evidence of ‘membership of an illegal group’, the charge that Nazanin was found guilty of at an unfair trial which saw her sentenced to five years in prison.
Arrested at the airport
Nazanin was arrested on 3 April 2016 at a Tehran airport, when she was about to board a plane home to the UK with her then one-year-old daughter, Gabriella. They had been on holiday in Iran visiting Nazanin’s parents – a trip Nazanin had made many times before, without incident.
At the airport, they were stopped by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Nazanin was taken into custody, without being told why, and Gabriella was given to her grandparents, who had accompanied them to the airport. Gabriella’s UK passport was confiscated at the airport (she does not have an Iranian passport), though it has since been returned.
Imprisonment and unfair trial
When Nazanin was first detained, she wasn’t told why. She was put in solitary confinement. She was held in solitary for 45 days, and could not speak to her family or a lawyer. Her family were not told the reasons for her imprisonment.
Nazanin did not have a fair trial. She was only allowed access to a lawyer three days before her trial.
In September 2016, Nazanin was sentenced to five years in prison for ‘membership of an illegal group’.
We have recently been told that she could face an additional charge, which would extend her imprisonment even further.
Nazanin’s physical and mental health is suffering.
She suffers from severe arm, neck and back pain as a result of her prison conditions, and her hair is falling out. Nazanin’s husband has most recently said that she is worried about lumps on her breast.
Her family say that Nazanin has been extremely distressed and depressed during her imprisonment and separation from Gabriella. In November 2016, Nazanin wrote a suicidal letter to her family. 18 months have passed and her mental health has continued to decline.
The Iranian authorities have a track record of not allowing prisoners the healthcare they need – especially for people imprisoned on political charges – and this is sadly the case for Nazanin too.
The case against Nazanin by the Iranian state has seen her accused of vague charges with no supporting evidence. At the start of this year, when her case was heard before an appeal court, the media coverage of her case was cited as evidence before the court that Nazanin is an ‘important person’.
Nazanin has officially been found guilty of ‘membership of an illegal group’, apparently related to her work for the Thomson Reuters Foundation and as an administrative assistant at BBC Media Action. Nazanin has never ‘trained journalists’ (as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in November, and later corrected), but she has worked for organisations that provide such training. This alone seems to be the ‘evidence’ for her imprisonment.
Even if Nazanin had trained journalists, this would not be reason to imprison her. Yet while she was in Iran, she was simply on holiday.
Since she has committed no crime, Nazanin is a prisoner of conscience – someone who’s imprisoned just for using their human rights like free speech and freedom of association.
UK government involvement
“the Foreign Office is working hard...to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe...and we will leave absolutely no stone unturned in our efforts to do that”
The UK government agrees with us that there is no reason for Iran to imprison Nazanin.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson went to Iran on 9 and 10 December to hold talks with Iranian authorities. He says that he pressed for the release of UK-Iranian duel nationals imprisoned in Iran, including Nazanin.
"my first priority was the plight of the dual nationals behind bars. I urged their release on humanitarian grounds, where there is cause to do so... the Government will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to secure their release.”
Boris Johnson addresses the House of Commons on 11 December
We welcome efforts by the British government to secure Nazanin’s freedom. They must not stop until she is able to return to the UK and be reunited with Richard and Gabriella.
Dual nationals imprisoned
Nazanin is one of several UK-Iranian dual nationals imprisoned in concerning circumstances, apparently for political reasons.
Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin’s husband, has campaigned tirelessly from the UK for his wife’s freedom.
Three-year-old Gabriella remains in Iran with her grandparents. She gets to visit her mum in prison twice a week. She can only speak to her dad via Skype.
Richard says that Gabriella can no longer speak English, as she has been in Iran for the past year and a half as a result of her mother’s imprisonment.
Any contact between Nazanin and her family is extremely limited and at the behest of the Iranian authorities.