Nazanin & Anoosheh released!!
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe & Anoosheh Ashoori are both finally released after more than 10 years combined unjustly detained in Iran. This is the news we & their families have hoped for every day since Nazanin was arrested in 2016.
This is incredible news for everyone who has supported Nazanin, and shows that when we can come together Humanity Wins.
CONFIRMED: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe & Anoosheh Ashoori are both FINALLY released after more than 10yrs combined unjustly detained in Iran ✊
This is the news we & their families have hoped for every day since Nazanin was arrested in 2016 ❤️
— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) March 16, 2022
Is anyone else still imprisoned?
For years, it’s been clear that countries including Iran, are ramping up a cynical policy of jailing British nationals with the clear intention of using them as diplomatic pawns.
Time and time again, UK officials failed to work closely with the affected families, they failed to insist on attending trial hearings or on visiting UK nationals in detention.
This can cause significant pain to those imprisoned and to their families.
British people have the right to expect that the UK government will do everything it can to secure their freedom and bring them home if they are ever unjustly imprisoned.
A group of politicians recently urged the government to develop a more consistent and clear approach.Through the Foreign Affairs Committee, they suggested creating a specific position in the government which would:
• focus on coordinating a response to cases of British people unjustly imprisoned
• be the point of contact for families
• convene a cross-government response
• coordinate the UK’s response to international efforts to stop hostage-taking by states.
The UK government must develop a clear and consistent approach to the unjust imprisonment of British people overseas and they must secure the release of Morad, Mehran and Alaa.
Nazanin is a 45 year old British-Iranian mother, who is being arbitrarily detained in Iran. She worked in charities and news organisations throughout her 20s and met her husband, Richard, in London after studying for a Masters. She and Richard married in 2009 and their daughter Gabriella was born in 2014.
In March 2016, Nazanin took then one year old Gabriella to visit Nazanin's parents in Tehran for the Iranian New Year. As she and Gabriella were about to board a plane back to the UK, Nazanin was stopped and arrested by the notorious Revolutionary Guard without an explanation. Gabriella was separated from her mother and handed over to her grandparents while their documents were confiscated.
Imprisonment and Unfair Trial
Nazanin was placed in solitary confinement for a total of 8.5 months. She was denied access to her lawyer and was only allowed limited contact with her family.
In September 2016, after a grossly unfair trial, Nazanin was sentenced to five years in prison on a trumped up national security charge and the evidence used against her was kept secret. According to her husband, Nazanin had previously been given a message for her family to pass on to the UK government that she would be released without charge if the British government “made the agreement”.
In Spring 2020, Nazanin was released on furlough (temporary prison leave) and is currently staying with her parents in Tehran where her movements are limited and she is watched. In September, she was again taken to court and told she would face another arbitrary charge of “spreading propaganda against the system”. A trial date was set for the following weekend but this was postponed at short notice.
On 7th March 2021 - the official end of her sentence - Nazanin's ankle tag was removed and her movements restricted. However she faced a second charge and after a short trial on Sunday 14th March, the Iranian authorities announced that has been sentenced to one more year in prison in Iran and a ban on leaving the country.
Release & reunion
Eventually, in March 2022, after negotiations between Iran and the UK, Nazanin and Anoosheh were allowed to return home to the UK, and be reunited with their families, who were waiting for them when they landed.
Nazanin & Anooseh's ordeal, shows how essential it is that the UK government develops a clear and consistent approach to the unjust imprisonment of British people overseas and they must now secure the release of Mehran and Alaa.