Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: The Story Behind The Recently Released British-Iranian

By Patrick Barlow

Photo Credit: MrZeroPage / Creatiev Commons

After nearly six years, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been freed from detention in Iran after a tireless campaign against her arrest.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is British-Iranian, was detained in April 2016 but is said to be flying home from Iran today via Oman.

With such a long backstory behind her detention, we take a look at the information surrounding her detention, as well as her release.

Why was Zaghari-Ratcliffe Detained?

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, was arrested by Iranian authorities in 2016 after they alleged she was involved with plans to oust the government.

According to the BBC, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are said to believe that she was leading a “foreign-linked hostile network”.

Before her arrest, she worked for the charity Thomson-Reuters Foundation, and had previously worked for BBC charity Media Action.

What was her detention like?

In September 2016, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison, extended by another year in April of last year.

During this time, Amnesty International say that she faced a range of unjust treatments, including an unfair trial and over eight months in solitary confinement.

She also went on hunger strike on more than one occasion, protesting first on a lack of medical treatment and then for her release.

Lawyers have lodged appeals for her release on multiple occasions, all of which have been unsuccessful.

The Campaign For Her Release

Calls for her release have come from numerous sources, including Amnesty International.

The campaign to free her has primarily been led by her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, who also went on hunger strike to call for her release.

It has been said that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has drawn strength from her daughter, Gabrielle, saying in an open letter: “Those brief minutes might be the shortest of cuddles, but without doubt the most beautiful and uplifting cuddles in the whole world.

“I have no hope or motivation after my baby goes. There is no measure to my pain.”

The UK government have been involved with securing her release, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss saying in October: “Iran’s decision to proceed with these baseless charges against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is an appalling continuation of the cruel ordeal she is going through.

“We are doing all we can to help Nazanin get home to her young daughter and family and I will continue to press Iran on this point.”

It has been reported that a £400 million debt owed by the British government may be linked to her detention, but the government has stressed that the two issues are not linked.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe will fly back to the UK alongside another dual-national Briton Annoosheh Ashoori, who was also detained in Iran.

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