On Wednesday, Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, visited Richard Ratcliffe outside the Iranian Embassy in London. Mr Ratcliffe, who had been on a hunger strike for 13 days, was standing in solidarity with his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was also on a hunger strike. Nazanin has now ended her hunger strike after 15 days. Richard said that he was “relieved” as he “wouldn’t have wanted her to push it much longer”.
Nazanin was imprisoned in Iran three years ago when she went to visit her parents for a holiday in Iran and share some family time with her now five-year-old daughter, Gabriella. In December, she completed her 1,000th day in detention, three days after her 40th birthday. More than 100 MPs have now visited him outside the Iranian embassy, and Nazanin’s case has received media attention around the world.
Since being imprisoned, Nazanin has suffered a serious decline in her physical health, including severe arm, neck and back pain. There has also been serious concerns over her mental health, something that Richard has repeatedly drawn attention to during his campaign on his wife’s behalf.
Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central said:
“Richard Ratcliffe is the most gracious of people, who simply wants to be united with his wife and daughter whom he misses so much. He has campaigned tirelessly for her release since her wrongful imprisonment in Iran and is so appreciative of all the support that he has received. The support that Richard is getting is very moving.
Clearly this is a gross miscarriage of justice, and a serious error has occurred in Nazanin’s imprisonment. We all long for Nazanin to come home to the UK and be united with her family.
Director of Amnesty International UK, Kate Allen, said:
“The hunger strike is over, but the deep injustice of this case isn’t.
“Nazanin is still a prisoner of conscience, still unfairly jailed after a sham trial, and still being subjected to the torment of separation from her home and family.
“This deeply troubling case urgently needs to be resolved. The Iranian authorities should finally do the right thing – release Nazanin and allow her to return home to the UK.
Rachael Maskell MP has written to the Prime Minister, urging her to use her last weeks in office to personally seek a diplomatic visit to Iran with the sole purpose of securing Nazanin’s release.