“We’re all a part of a club that nobody wants to be a member of…”

In 2018, the Tahbaz family joined the Ashoori and the Zaghari-Ratcliffe families in the “club that nobody wants to be a member of.” Morad Tahbaz was working on animal conservation projects in Iran when he was arrested and accused of espionage. In November 2019 he was given a 10 year prison sentence for “contacts with the US enemy government.”. His wife, Vida, remains subject to a travel ban and unable to leave Iran.

The Tahbaz family were repeatedly assured that their parents would be part of the deal that saw Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori freed.  They were told that no one would be left behind. Morad Tahbaz was granted furlough from Evin prison but while Nazanin and Anoosheh were able to board a flight back to the UK, Morad was returned to prison after just 48hours.

His children were not told and they only discovered that their parents weren’t coming home when watching the TV news footage.

Roxanne Tahbaz and her siblings had followed the UK Government’s advice to not speak publicly about their father’s imprisonment in an effort “not to jeopardise any negotiations.”

She has said: “Our biggest concern was that because we were the only non-public family, we’d be forgotten. They were like, ‘no, no. They’re definitely in the deal’.”

Roxanne was asked if she would like the Government to apologise for having mislead their family but she responded that: “I’d be happy to forgo the apology if they brought my parents home. It’s really about action at this point, instead of just words.”

But action is not forthcoming and the Tahbaz’s still do not know what steps the Foreign Office are taking to secure Morad’s release and his return to the UK with Vida.

You can take action by adding your name to Amnesty International UK’s call HERE and insist that the UK Government:

  • Take all available urgent action for Morad Tahbaz, so that he can be reunited with his family
  • Meet with Morad Tahbaz’s family to set out a plan for his release

Morad has survived two different cancers in the last ten years and is currently being denied the medical care and monitoring that he needs. He has lost a significant amount of weight and his loved ones are understandably incredibly worried about the impact of this ongoing and entirely unjust imprisonment.

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s CEO, said:

“The Government’s job is only half-done – Nazanin and Anoosheh are home, but Morad isn’t and neither is Mehran Raoof.

“It shouldn’t need a superhuman effort from the families to jolt the Government into taking action on behalf of British nationals who are arbitrarily jailed in Iran.”

You can hear Roxanne Tahbaz speak openly and eloquently about her family’s struggle on BBC Woman’s Hour HERE.

If you would like to take action in support of Morad and Vida or hear more about the work of Cardiff Amnesty please email amnesty.cardiff@btinternet.com or follow our socials.

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