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A message from Richard Ratcliffe

My name is Richard Ratcliffe, I am the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Nazanin is a British-Iranian citizen who was convicted on a trumped-up national security related charge, after a grossly unfair trial shrouded in secrecy, was unjustly imprisoned while taking our daughter to visit her grandparents. 

Firstly, I want to say thank you for taking action for Nazanin. Over 245,000 Amnesty supporters have helped pressure the Iranian authorities as well as shown your solidarity in many ways. Your support means so much to us. 

Nazanin is now facing additional unfounded charges, which could see her spend even more years in prison, unless the UK government intervenes. There is no time to waste. 

This week I met with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP. As we have been told in the past, he once again spoke of the care and concern the UK government has for my wife and her situation. However, it has now been four and a half years that she has been cruelly separated from me and our young daughter, Gabriella, with no progress on securing her release. 

That’s why I am asking you for your support again, this time to remind our government what their responsibility is to Nazanin as one of their own. They should not stand by while an innocent British citizen is imprisoned abroad and used as diplomatic leverage.

Nazanin is not the only British dual national being held unjustly in Iran. 66-year old Anoosheh Ashoori has been in prison in Iran for over three years after being arrested while visiting his mother. 

In that time he has been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment including prolonged solitary confinement. After a grossly unfair trial, Anoosheh was sentenced to two sentences of 10 and 2 years. Like me, Anoosheh’s family were encouraged by our government not to speak publicly about Anoosheh’s case and yet no progress has been made to end his unjust imprisonment.

Back in June 2016, when Nazanin was not released for our daughter Gabriella’s second birthday as the judiciary had promised she would be, her interrogators told her that she was being kept as leverage to encourage the British government to reach “an agreement.” Four and a half years on, we are still waiting; almost three quarters of Gabriella’s life. 

Nazanin has endured an incredibly difficult ordeal - prolonged solitary confinement and denial of access to adequate medical care, all of which violate the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment. She was put through a grossly unfair trial where she was not allowed to speak, and has been subjected to repeated smears from the Iranian authorities and state media.

A year ago, our then five-year-old daughter Gabriella was finally given clearance by the Iranian authorities to come back home to the UK to be with me. This was hoped to be a temporary separation. In Iran, Gabriella was by the end mostly allowed to visit her mum weekly. Now they must rely on phone and video calls to stay in touch. Most days Gabriella asks when her mum will come home, why does she not have a mummy like the other children.  

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Nazanin was temporarily released on furlough alongside thousands of others, to her parents' house in Tehran. According to our lawyers, Nazanin is the only prisoner released at that time not to be granted clemency. Outrageously she was required to wear an ankle tag limiting her movement to a range of 300 metres from the house, preventing her from accessing the medical care she needs. 

Nazanin and Anoosheh should not have to suffer any longer. You can help get the UK Government's full attention by putting pressure on your MP to call on the government to bring them both safely home to their families.

Thank you again for your continued support.
Richard Ratcliffe

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