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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband begins second hunger strike in Downing Street

The husband of jailed British-Iranian support employee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is as soon as once more staging a hunger strike in protest on the authorities’s failure to safe his spouse’s return to the UK.

Richard Ratcliffe made the dramatic determination following the current information that his spouse had lost her enchantment in opposition to a second jail sentence in Iran, prompting him to accuse Boris Johnson’s cupboard of failing to cope with issues “until they become crises”.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, now 42, was jailed for 5 years in Tehran again in 2016 after being accused of plotting in opposition to the nation’s regime. Following her launch earlier this year, she was charged and sentenced to a different year allegedly for spreading propaganda.

The mother-of-one is at the moment dwelling together with her mother and father in Tehran however is unable to depart the nation and dangers being despatched again to jail at any time after dropping the enchantment.

Mr Ratcliffe beforehand mentioned his spouse was “traumatised at the thought of having to go back to jail”. He now hopes the hunger strike will power the UK authorities to do extra to safe her freedom.

It marks the second time he has taken such motion in two years after a hunger strike exterior London’s Iranian embassy in 2019, which noticed him refuse meals for 15 days. Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe did the identical from her jail cell in Tehran.

In an internet petition, titled Hungry for Justice Still, Mr Ratcliffe mentioned he can be hanging exterior each Downing Street and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) following “bleak” conferences with the brand new international secretary, Liz Truss, in which he claims to have mentioned he had “no confidence in [her office’s] strategy”.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe embracing her daughter Gabriella in Damavand, Iran

(Free Nazanin marketing campaign/AFP/Getty)

He additionally used the web web page to criticise ministers for failing to settle an previous debt with Iran, which defence secretary Ben Wallace infamously acknowledged to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s legal professionals for the primary time in 2020. Mr Ratcliffe wrote it was this “impasse” that “caused Nazanin to be taken” in the primary place.

The cost is said to an alleged unfulfilled arms deal from the Nineteen Seventies, with Britain thought to owe the Middle Eastern nation as a lot as £400m.

A spokeswoman for the FCDO branded Iran’s determination to proceed with the “baseless” costs in opposition to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe “an appalling continuation of the cruel ordeal she is going through”.

She added: “Instead of threatening to return Nazanin to prison, Iran must release her permanently so she can return home. We are doing all we can to help Nazanin get home to her young daughter and family and we will continue to press Iran on this point.”

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who represents Hampstead and Kilburn, the London constituency the place Mr Ratcliffe and Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe reside with their daughter Gabriella, now six, described the information of Mr Ratcliffe’s Whitehall protest as “heartbreaking”.

“It should never have come to this,” she mentioned on Twitter, including in a press release: “It’s time for the government to listen to the demands of Nazanin’s family, including paying the debt we owe to Iran, and finally bring her home.”

Rupert Skilbeck, the director of authorized charity Redress, which is working a authorized marketing campaign for the discharge of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, mentioned: “It’s deeply worrying that Richard Ratcliffe has felt compelled to resort once again to a life-threatening measure to bring attention to the desperate plight of his family.”

He added: “Five years on, we have only seen setback after setback. The UK government’s approach is clearly not working. It’s time to stand up to perpetrators of hostage-taking by sanctioning those who perpetuate this reprehensible practice, and to bring Nazanin home.”

When Mr Ratcliffe final went on hunger strike, he was visited by dozens of MPs, garnered worldwide publicity for his spouse’s case, and sped up the method of his daughter getting back from Iran the place she had been dwelling together with her grandparents since Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detainment.

Gabriella has not seen her mom for 2 years, since she returned to the UK in October 2019. Mr Ratcliffe, alternatively, has not seen his spouse in particular person since 2016.

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