Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe holds a picture of her with her husband and daughter

4th anniversary of Nazanin’s arrest: swift action is needed to prevent further harm to her

Today marks four years since Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken away from her family. She was about to board a plane to London with her 22-month-old daughter Gabriella. Instead, she was put behind bars in Iran following a secret and unfair trial.

Due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran, Nazanin was recently granted a two-week furlough from prison. It was extended over the weekend, while the Iranian government considers whether to grant her clemency. But she has been required to wear an ankle tag and her movements will be restricted to 300 metres from her parents’ home in Tehran, making her release more akin to house arrest.

Despite her temporary release, Nazanin’s case is as urgent as ever. This injustice has gone for too long. Nazanin’s health has deteriorated significantly since her arrest, and she is suffering from significant mental and other physical health issues, after having been held in precarious conditions that amount to torture under international law.

A three-day furlough granted to her in 2018 was so traumatic that Nazanin said that she preferred not to be temporarily released again. Not surprisingly, her family is extremely concerned about the impact that the psychological blow of returning to prison may have on her now.

Nazanin must be released immediately as there is no legal basis for her continued imprisonment. Multiple human rights experts at the United Nations, the UK foreign secretary, the European parliament and many other bodies have called for her release.

Recent threats such as the coronavirus outbreak shows that there is no time to wait. Swift action is needed to prevent further risk to Nazanin and to ensure that she does not return to prison, but safely home to her family, where she belongs.

REDRESS has worked on Nazanin’s case since 2016 and continues to work to make her release permanent. We are raising funds to continue our work on Nazanin’s case and cases like hers. We’ve reached 70% of our target so far, but we need your support to meet our goal.