Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a 37 year old is a British-Iranian charity worker. Nazanin lives in London with her husband, Richard Ratcliffe and their baby daughter, Gabriella.
In March 2016, Nazanin travelled with Gabriella to visit her family in Tehran and celebrate the Iranian New Year with them. On the 3rd April, she was at the airport returning home when she was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. She was transferred to an unknown location in Kerman Province, some 1,000 kilometres south of Tehran for interrogation and was held in solitary confinement for 46 days.
Nazanin is now held by the Revolutionary Guard in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. On 14 August, the date of her wedding anniversary, she faced a secret trial before Judge Salavati of the Revolutionary Court. On 9 September, Nazanin was allowed a rare call to Richard to tell him she had been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. She was angry, frustrated and distraught and said “I can’t bear to be in this place any longer.” Neither Nazanin or her family know the charges she has been convicted for. It feels like the crime has been set to fit the punishment.
An official statement in Iranian media has accused Nazanin of attempting to overthrow the Islamic Republic as “one of the chief members of networks of adversary institutions, who — with the direction and support of foreign media and espionage services — has committed her criminal acts over the past few years”. Nazanin is simply a charity worker for the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London which does not even work in Iran. The idea that Nazanin and Gabriella were plotting regime change is truly extraordinary. Unfortunately though, Nazanin appears to be another victim of an increasing pattern of politically motivated arrests in Iran involving dual nationals.
Nazanin is now completely isolated from her home and family. She has only been allowed two calls to her British husband, and that those were to tell him she had faced trial, and then that she had been sentenced to 5 years in Evin prison. Visits or calls with her family in Iran are only permitted occasionally as reward for good behaviour. These visits have confirmed the family’s worst fears: she is weak and malnourished, sometimes unable to stand or walk and in a state of despair that is impossible to imagine.
This is the first time Nazanin has been separated from her baby daughter, Gabriella. Gabriella was just 1 year old at the time of her mother’s arrest and is stranded in Iran with her Grandparents after the authorities confiscated her British passport. Nazanin has missed nearly a quarter of her daughter’s life and Gabriella is growing up without either her mum or dad.
The family are incredibly worried about Nazanin’s wellbeing and are desperately doing all they can to secure her release so the family can be reunited. Richard, Nazanin’s husband, has launched a petition calling on Theresa May and Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khomenei, to do what is possible to end this cruel treatment of an innocent young mother.
We ask all visitors to take a brief moment to support Nazanin and Gabriella by signing the petition at Change.org. Our website suggests other ways you can help, letters you can write and events we may hold. Above all, we ask you all keep Nazanin and Gabriella in your thoughts and prayers. This could be a long and difficult journey, but with the strength of your support we will bring them home.
How long Naz has been detained: