Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be released immediately – 100 days have passed; 100 days too long
Tomorrow, 12 July, marks 100 days since British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari- Ratcliffe was arrested in Iran whilst on holiday. Nazanin has spent at least 45 of the past 100 days in solitary confinement. After her solitary confinement she could hardly walk; she suffered frequent blackouts, her hair started to fall out and she lost 5kg in weight.
She and her British husband have been separated from their infant daughter Gabriella since Nazanin’s arrest, as the Iranian authorities have confiscated Gabriella’s British passport and she cannot leave Iran, meaning Gabriella is currently taken care of by her Iranian grandparents.
No formal charges have been brought against Nazanin and she has had no access to a lawyer. On 15June 2016, accusations appeared in the Iranian and international press from the Kerman branch of the Revolutionary Guard accusing her of being the ringleader of a global network of media organisations aimed at the soft overthrow of the Iranian regime. Her family dispute this as a “ridiculous fantasy”.
REDRESS petitioned the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on 17 June 2016 to rule on the arbitrary nature of her arrest and detention. Keeping her in solitary confinement for 45days for no apparent reason, denying her and her husband Richard Ratcliffe access to their infant child is cruel and inhuman, and contrary to an array of Iran’s human rights obligations. Her ongoing detention is illegal and REDRESS is calling for her immediate release.
REDRESS is expecting a decision from the UN group of experts next month. The complaint submitted by REDRESS alleges that Nazanin’s detention without charge, separation from her two year-old daughter and subjection to incommunicado detention and solitary confinement is in breach of Articles 7, 9, 10, 14 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and constitutes cruel and inhuman ill-treatment, if not torture, as well as arbitrary detention.
In addition to demanding her immediate release, REDRESS is asking Iran to provide reparation to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe. To mark 100 days of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention, her husband and his mother Barbara Ratcliffe, together with Tulip Siddiq MP, will be presenting a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron at 12:30 pm tomorrow asking him to intervene personally on her case. Immediately prior to this,Tulip Siddiq MP will be asking a parliamentary question to the Foreign Secretary as to what the Foreign Office is doing to secure Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s and her daughter’s release home.
Richard Ratcliffe said: “Nazanin is being held because she has a British passport – her work for British charities and links to the outside is being used as a bogeyman in Iranian domestic politics and her passport makes her a bargaining chip for international negotiations.
It is precisely because she is a British dual national that she has been taken as collateral by Iran. It is because of that – it will ultimately be in the hands of the British government to solve. And that is why I am writing to the Prime Minister.”
REDRESS director Carla Ferstman said: “Nazanin has been held for almost 100 days without access to a lawyer and without being brought before a credible judicial body. This goes against the most basic fair trial standards, whatever the legal system, and it is simply unacceptable for Iran to make her and her family suffer in this way.”
Ms Ferstman added: “Nazanin’s two-year old daughter has been cruelly cut off from her father in the UK, as well of course from being cared for by her mother. The long-term negative effects on this young family cannot be predicted. Iran must do the decent and proper thing and allow this mother and child to return home immediately.”
The WGAD will meet in Geneva from 22 – 26 August, where it will decide on REDRESS’ petition, available here: This week, parliamentarians will also be discussing Nazanin’s case and others at a private meeting on the rule of law in Iran.
For more information or to request an interview please contact Eva Sanchis, REDRESS