A human rights charity is crowdfunding to cover the costs of its legal battle to free a British mum arbitrarily detained in Iran for more than three years.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who holds dual Iranian nationality, was arrested at Tehran Airport in 2016 by the Revolutionary Guard on her return visit from seeing her parents and family with her 22-month-old daughter, Gabriella.
Apart from being let out on temporary release for three days last year, she has since remained in detention – with nearly nine months spent in solitary confinement.
Her health has since severely deteriorated, according to human rights charity Redress who has been working on Nazanin’s case since 2016.
“When [she] ended her 15-day hunger strike a few days ago, medical staff noted that her skin had turned yellow, indicating problems with her kidneys,” wrote Redress advocacy officer Josie Fathers.
The charity said that she also suffered blackouts, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts – but has been denied medical treatment.
What Is The Situation So Far?
Image Credit: Free Nazanin Campaign.
Nazanin, who works for the news organisation the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying. She denies the charge, maintaining that she was simply visting family.
These are flagrant violations of Iran’s obligations under international law.
Statement issued by the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights
The situation is feared to have been exacerbated when former Foreign Secretary, and current Tory leadership frontrunner, Boris Johnson said in parliament that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “simply teaching people journalism” – a statement both she and her employer say is untrue.
Campaigners believe Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s arbitrary detention has breached her fundamental human rights and the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed its agreement.
In October 2017, the OHCHR issued a statement saying: “We consider that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been arbitrarily deprived of her liberty and that her right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal has been violated.
“These are flagrant violations of Iran’s obligations under international law.”
In March this year, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt granted her diplomatic protection. This means that the government recognises her as predominantly British, and that her ill-treatment and continued arbitrary detention is now a dispute between the UK and Iran.
This is the first time that the UK has ever done this in a human rights case.
Nazanin went on a 15-day hunger strike to demand her release last month. She was joined in her protest by her husband Richard, who is holding a vigil outside the Iranian Embassy in London.
What Happens Next?
Your support can make a monumental impact on Nazanin’s case, and stop the same thing from happening to others. After three years of arbitrary detention, it is time to @FreeNazanin and bring her home. #Donate today! #justgiving https://t.co/u3SWho8jKR pic.twitter.com/ChTU5Dy0OF
— REDRESS (@REDRESSTrust) July 10, 2019
Now that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been granted diplomatic protection, the charity says the next steps lie with the incoming Foreign Secretary to continue to put pressure on Iran for her release.
However, Redress’s Josie Fathers fears that a threat of a second trial remains “very real”, which “would mean more pain, more time apart, more injustice”.
The group is raising £15,000 to continue its legal and advocacy work on Nazanin’s case and to continue to press the Foreign Office, the UN and MPs to use their influence to hold Iran to account.
Support Redress and the Free Nazanin campaign here.