On Thursday evening a candlelight vigil outside the Senedd was held to highlight the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37 year old British-Iranian charity worker.
After a holiday visiting her family in Iran, she was detained on the 3rd April by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. She has been transferred to an unknown location and held in solitary confinement.
Gabriella Ratcliffe, her 22 month old daughter (who has British citizenship only), has had her British passport confiscated, and is stranded in Iran with her grandparents.
There have been no charges. Nazanin has informed her family that she has been required to sign a confession under duress, its content unknown. Her family have been informed that the investigation relates to an issue of ‘national security’.
Her husband, Richard, says “It is hard to understand how a young mother and her small child on holiday could be considered an issue of national security. She has been to Iran to visit her family regularly since making Britain her home”.
Nazanin currently works as a project manager for the Thomson-Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the Reuters news agency, which delivers projects around the world. The charity does not work in Iran.
During the vigil the case of Kamal Foroughi, a 76-year-old British grandfather who has been similarly detained, was also highlighted. Amnesty International has long campaigned on the issue of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Iranian prisons, more can be found here, https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/iran/report-iran/ .
Prayers and reflections on the plight of the Ratcliffe family were led by Nazanin’s sister-in-law, Rebecca, a GP in Cwmbran. In the month of Ramadan it was hoped that both the Iranian and British Government would act to reunite mother and daughter, husband and wife.
Those attending the event on the steps of the Senedd were asked to write messages of solidarity in a book for Nazanin and her daughter. Jo Cox’s words, “there is more that unites than divides us”, were repeated as the book was passed around the group. The heartfelt messages that were written certainly spoke of a common humanity:
“ … Are thoughts and prayers are with you family… ”
“ … I cannot imagine what you are going through …”
“ … Wishing you a speedy return to your family …”
Please show your solidarity and sign the online petition here: https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-mp-free-nazanin-ratcliffe