Foreign Office minister should raise plight of jailed UK nationals during visit to Iran

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, mother of a young daughter Gabriella, has been given a five-year jail sentence after an unfair trial © Private

Alistair Burt set to attend forthcoming inauguration of Hassan Rouhani as president for second term   

‘It’s time for the UK Government to significantly raise its game on Nazanin’s and Kamal’s cases’ - Kate Allen

Ahead of Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt’s attendance at the inauguration ceremony for the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani this weekend, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

“Those who hoped for reforms under President Rouhani have had those hopes completely dashed amidst a vicious and widespread crackdown on peaceful dissidents, lawyers, journalists and anyone daring to defend human rights in Iran.

“Alistair Burt ought to use his time in the country to tell Iranian officials that the jailing of human rights activists and many others after grossly unfair trials on spurious national security charges is completely unacceptable and has got to stop.

“In particular, Mr Burt should raise the deeply troubling cases of the jailed UK nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi.

“Iranian officials need to hear Mr Burt very clearly calling for Nazanin’s and Kamal’s release and their speedy return to the UK.

“Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mr Foroughi have both been subjected to prolonged periods of solitary confinement, unfair trials and denial of medical treatment in jail. 

“It’s time for the UK Government to significantly raise its game on Nazanin’s and Kamal’s cases, and more generally on the way that Iran is apparently targeting dual nationals.”  

Some 20,000 people have supported an Amnesty campaign calling on Westminster MPs to call for Nazanin and Kamal’s immediate release from prison in Iran and their return to the UK. Last month, a parliamentary debate on the plight of detained UK-Iranian dual nationals was attended by a considerable number of MPs in what campaigners see as a sign that the cases are continuing to attract significant political support. 

Crackdown under Rouhani

Earlier this week Amnesty published major new report on Iran’s crackdown under President Rouhani - Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack.

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