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UK: giant snakes-and-ladders board to show ups and downs in Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case

Seven-year-old Gabriella Ratcliffe at the event in Parliament Square in central London © Marie-Anne Ventoura/Amnesty International UK

-Richard Ratcliffe will invite MPs to join him and his daughter Gabriella for photographs standing on various squares of the board

‘We remain caught in a game between governments’ - Richard Ratcliffe

Richard Ratcliffe will unveil a giant snakes-and-ladders board in Parliament Square in central London on Thursday 23 September (11am) to mark the 2,000th day that his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been arbitrarily detained in Iran.

The snakes-and-ladders board - measuring ten-feet by ten-feet - will vividly show how Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s plight - and that of other foreign nationals in Iran - has been the subject of repeated ups and downs, as hopes have risen that she would be released only for these to be followed by fresh disappointment.

The brightly-coloured board - designed by Amnesty International, which is working closely with Richard Ratcliffe - features “ladders” such as the UK granting Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protection status and Dominic Raab saying Iran’s treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe amounted to torture - as well as “snakes” such as a second jail sentence being handed down against the British national earlier this year.

After unveiling the board directly opposite the Houses of Parliament, Richard Ratcliffe will be inviting MPs to “step onto the board” with himself and his daughter Gabriella as a symbolic act of solidarity with the family and families of other British nationals arbitrarily held in Iran.

The event comes just days after Liz Truss became the latest Foreign Secretary to oversee efforts to secure the release of unfairly-held British nationals in Iran. Truss is also expected to meet her Iranian counterpart, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, during the UN General Assembly in New York this week.  

Richard Ratcliffe said: 

“Since Nazanin was taken 2,000 days ago, we’ve had five foreign secretaries, three prime ministers, a referendum that changed the country, a US presidency that changed the world, and a pandemic that changed life for all of us. 

“And yet we remain - caught in a game between governments. This game has been going on now for 2,000 days.  

“We live the ups and downs of our lives, as they roll their dice, and make their diplomatic moves. 

“With all its broken promises and false dawns, and the countless threats of more bad days to come, it is far too long to keep living like this.

“We have been clear with the Prime Minister, he needs to be a lot braver in dealing with Iran’s hostage diplomacy. The drift in decision-making and its impact has gone on too long. Too many innocent lives are being wasted.

“After 2,000 days, it really is time to put away the hollow promises of childish things. It is time for the PM to act, to be a ladder and protect his citizens.”

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s CEO, said:

“People’s lives shouldn’t be treated like a game by governments - it’s excruciating to see how Nazanin and her family are being made to suffer like this.

“We’re hoping Liz Truss will make the job of securing Nazanin’s release a major priority as Foreign Secretary.

“The Government urgently needs to set out a clear strategy for securing the release of all British nationals unfairly held in Iran.”

Photo opportunity 

WHO: Richard Ratcliffe, his daughter Gabriella; the family of Anoosheh Ashoori; with various MPs expected to attend

WHAT: a giant multicoloured snakes-and-ladders board depicting the ups and downs of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case as well as that of others detained in Iran

- Richard Ratcliffe will invite MPs to join him and his daughter Gabriella for photographs standing on various squares on the board

WHERE: Parliament Square, central London

WHEN: 11am

-The event will conclude by approximately 12:30pm
 

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