UK: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and husband Richard end hunger strike
Responding to news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and husband Richard have ended their hunger strikes, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, 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.”
Grossly unfair trial and ongoing health concerns
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, a British-Iranian dual-national charity worker, was arrested at Tehrans Imam Khomeini Airport on 3 April 2016 prior to boarding a plane back to the UK after a regular family visit to the country with her infant daughter Gabriella. After being detained in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2016 after being convicted of “membership of an illegal group” in a grossly unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe is presently serving a five-year jail sentence in Tehrans notorious Evin Prison. Since being jailed, she has suffered a serious decline in her physical and mental health, something her husband has repeatedly drawn attention to during a high-profile campaign on his wifes behalf. Her requests for periods of temporary release – for which she is eligible – have been met on only one occasion (last August), followed three days later by a return to jail. Amnesty described her return to jail on 26 August as a “crushing disappointment”. She is suffering from numerous health problems – including severe arm, neck and back pain – and there have been serious concerns over her mental health.
Amnesty has designated Zaghari-Ratcliffe a prisoner of conscience targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association. Amnesty has repeatedly called on the Iranian authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally.