Richard Ratcliffe, on hunger strike in front of Iran's embassy in London

NCRI Women’s Committee Calls for Release of British-Iranian Woman Held Hostage by Regime

Richard Ratcliffe, on hunger strike in front of Iran's embassy in London

Nazanin Zaghari’s health condition is deteriorating due to lack of medical care. Richard Ratcliffe, her husband has also been on hunger strike in front of the Iranian regime’s embassy in London, demanding the unconditional release of his wife from prison.

Imprisoned British-Iranian dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari is nearing the third week of her hunger strike, despite pressure from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), according to a Friday report from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Women’s Committee.

Zaghari began her hunger strike on June 15, 2019, to protest her unfair imprisonment by the Iranian regime. She chose her daughter’s birthday to begin her strike as a symbol of the regime’s cruel separation of Zaghari from her young daughter when she was initially arrested in April 2016. According to her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, Zaghari is demanding “unconditional freedom” before she will end her strike.

Zaghari has been imprisoned for three years, during which time her physical health has deteriorated, according to MEK sources inside Iran. Iranian prisons are notoriously unhygienic and routinely deny inmates access to healthcare. It is common for prisoners to develop serious health issues while imprisoned.

Richard Ratcliffe is also on a hunger strike in solidarity with his wife. He said that Zarghari initiated the strike, but he followed suit on the same day in support of her release. Ratcliffe has been protesting outside of the Iranian Embassy in London for his wife’s freedom.

Mr. Ratcliffe said that he was able to speak with Zaghari on the phone last weekend, and she restated her demand for unconditional release. She also said that the Revolutionary Guards have pressured her to end her strike.

“She was pretty traumatized,” Ratcliffe said in reference to the phone call. “She was being pressured by the Revolutionary Guard at that point to end the hunger strike. Their job is to be scary. They certainly are. This is day twelve of our hunger strike. It’s tough for me and I’m sure it’s much tougher for her.”

 

Zaghari has shown determination in her efforts to end her role as a bargaining chip in the Iranian regime’s negotiations with the U.K. She said previously that she would do anything to let the governments of both Iran and the U.K. know that enough is enough. The Iranian regime has a policy of kidnapping and taking hostages as a form of diplomacy. Zaghari is a victim of this policy.

Background

Nazanin Zaghari is a British-Iranian dual citizen who worked as a project manager for the Thompson Reuters Foundation in the U.K. In March 2016, she and her two-year-old daughter, Gabriella, flew to Iran to visit her parents. On April 3, 2016, Zaghari was detained at the airport as she and Gabriella were preparing to board a flight home to the U.K. She and her daughter were separated, and Zaghari was imprisoned for several months without trial before finally being sentenced to five years in prison.

An Urgent Call to Action

The Women’s Committee of the NCRI repeats its call for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council, and other defenders of human rights and women’s rights to condemn the Iranian regime’s practice of kidnapping and hostage-taking and to take urgent action to free Nazanin Zaghari.

Staff writer

 

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