During May, the Cardiff Amnesty Group embarked on virtually travelling the distance from London to Tehran, along with other Amnesty members, family and friends. This distance worked out at a massive 2,780 miles, but the cause was one that warranted such action. Under the banner “Bring Them Home”, this action was intended to raise awareness of unjustly detained dual British-Iranian nationals in Iran and fundraise for the work that Amnesty International does in advocating for their release.
Overall, we managed to walk, run and ride a total of 3917 miles and raised £1405 (1673.75 inc. Gift Aid) for Amnesty International. Thank you so much to those that got involved with this challenge and put in some miles, donated or spread the word. It is only through collective effort that we can hope to be a catalyst for the release of all dual British-Iranian nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran.
The Cardiff Amnesty Group’s work in this area stretches back five years when Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arbitrarily detained in Iran in 2016 after visiting her parents. Since then, Nazanin has spent years in jail after being unjustly declared guilty of plotting to topple the Iranian government, and has recently been found guilty of another spurious charge of spreading propaganda against Iran. The conditions that Nazanin has faced have been appalling and her mental and physical health have deteriorated significantly over the years. The reality is that Nazanin should never have been detained in the first place and after five years of torment, she must be released by the Iranian government immediately.
Unfortunately, Nazanin is not the only dual British-Iranian national detained arbitrarily in Iran. Anoosheh Ashoori was visiting his mother in Tehran when he was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents in August 2017 and detained in Evin prison. He has been subjected to torture and made to sign “confessions” whilst sleep deprived. Following a shockingly unfair trial, he was then sentenced to a combined 12 years in an Iranian jail. His family are incredibly worried about his mental and physical wellbeing, and since his sentencing he has attempted to commit suicide on two ocassions. These stories highlight the urgent action that is needed in this area and that is why the London to Tehran Challenge was necessary.
In an effort to spread the word of their plight, the Cardiff Amnesty Group were also able to organise two group walks during May to Garth Mountain and Sugar Loaf, in line with Covid-19 regulations. These were a great success and it was fantastic to see the collective efforts of activists who feel so strongly about the issue. We were fortunate to be joined by Rebecca Ratcliffe, Nazanin’s sister-in-law, and her family on one of the walks. Their endurance in campaigning for Nazanin is truly testament to the strength they have shown throughout her ordeal. We can take much from their attitude and the Cardiff Amnesty Group will do everything possible to support the ongoing campaign.
Although the London to Tehran Challenge has ended, the work of the Cardiff Amnesty Group has not finished. Nazanin and Anoosheh remain detained and we will continue to campaign for their immediate release. Please join us by getting involved and Bringing Them Home.
How you can get involved:
- Tweet your MPs and the government by using the hashtag #BringThemHome
- Write to your MP and ask them to pressure the government into taking action to ensure the safe return of all dual British-Iranian arbitrarily detained in Iran
- Sign Amnesty International’s petition here calling on the UK government to secure the release of Anoosheh Ashoori