Two British citizens spent the night outside the Foreign Office in London on November 2 in freezing conditions in an attempt to rescue their loved ones who are imprisoned in Iran unfairly.
Two families demand the release of their loved one
“Two British citizens are camped outside the Foreign Office, urging their government to do more to secure the release of their loved ones,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Countries seeking nuclear talks with Iran should also demand the release of unjustly imprisoned dual nationals being used as bargaining chips by the Iranian government,” Ghaemi added. “On this issue, a united international front is the only way to put an end to this unacceptable behavior.”
Richard Ratcliffe, one of the protesters, is on his 11th day without food as he demands that the Iranian government free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (43), his Iranian-born British wife and mother of their six-year-old daughter, who has been imprisoned in Iran since April 2016.
Anoosheh: another dual citizen imprisoned in Iran
On November 3, Aryan Ashoori, a relative of another imprisoned dual citizen, joined Ratcliffe for the night to urge the release of his father, Anoosheh Ashoori (67), an Iranian-born British retiree who has been jailed in Iran since August 2017. Ratcliffe’s family members will work in shifts alongside him.
“On Monday night, I’ll be spending the night… Elika Ashoori, Anooseh’s daughter, told CHRI, “I would like to call on all MPs to treat my father’s case equally.”
“Our case has received little attention, and the UK foreign office has yet to respond to our request for diplomatic protection for my father,” she continued. “The sooner they give it to him, the sooner the MPs will treat his case as seriously as Nazanin’s.”
After convictions that clearly denied them due process and fair trial rights, Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori were both imprisoned in Iran on contrived and baseless “national security” allegations.
Nazanin already spent five years in prison
Their situations, like those of many other dual nationals imprisoned in Iran, are linked to Iran’s international ties. Their family claim that the British people are being detained as bargaining chips by Iran in order to collect payment for an old British military debt.
On October 24, 2021, the day Ratcliffe launched his strike, the Free Nazanin campaign wrote, “In the final reckoning, Nazanin’s case is not a legal issue, it never was – the legal cases in the UK and Iran were long fig leaves for political games.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe is presently under home arrest in Tehran, but after losing her appeal against a one-year prison sentence in October 2021, she might be taken back to prison at any time. She’s already spent five years in prison.
An appeal against a 10-year sentence
In October, a Tehran court dismissed Anoosheh Ashoori’s request for conditional parole and an appeal against his 10-year sentence.
After Ratcliffe met with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on October 24, the Free Nazanin campaign tweeted, “They still haven’t settled the debt to Iran, whose impasse in 2016 caused Nazanin to be taken.” “At this time, there is no legal impediment,” the Minister stated.
On November 5, a candlelight vigil will be held outside the Foreign Office.
Supporters are encouraged to attend and sign petitions for Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori, according to the families.
According to CHRI research, at least 16 dual citizens and one foreign national were known to be incarcerated in Iran (either imprisoned or under house arrest and unable to leave the country) as of November 2021.