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Downing Street protest: #FreeNazanin

Pictured: Londoners join together for a Christmas carols concert outside Downing Street on Monday December 19, 2016, to call for the release of London mother Nazanin Ratcliffe from Iranian jail. Isabel Infantes 07795 350 975

Photographer: Isabel Infantes, London. Publisher: The Media Express, Paris.

Innocent UK mother remains incarcerated in Iran’s notorious prison

On Monday evening, 19 Dec 2016, family and friends joined in a chorus of protest outside Downing Street to call on the UK government to do more to help the release of London mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British national who was arbitrarily arrested on 3rd April 2016 in Tehran, and is now spending her first Christmas, of a 5 year prison sentence away from her family, having already gone on hunger strike.

Her original arrest reported on the CSDHI news site along with other many major newswires. And as the year draws to an end the UK government has trailed in answering the families calls to have the Iran regime drop charges against her.

Toddlers and adults gathered to demand the British Foreign secretary Boris Johnson ‘buck up’, and ‘bring Nazanin home.’ Making sure the hashtag #FreeNazanin was prominently featured. Amongst the 50 people was also Nazanin’s niece who drove home a stark pleading message to the lullaby of Away in a Manger, to a discordant and nightmarish ‘Away in a Prison, No lovely soft bed, My poor auntie Naz feels nothing but dread.’ Ratcliffe’s only crime was to have held a dual British-Iranian passport.


Friends and family of London mother at the #FreeNazanin protest outside Downing Street London on Monday night, 19 Dec 2016, demanding the UK government bring home London mother Nazanin Ratcliffe imprisoned for 5 years in Iran’s Evin prison.

Photographer: Isabel Infantes, London. Publisher: The Media Express, Paris.

Dual nationality provokes the Iran regime

The Iran Regime’s distrust of dual nationality is corroborated by the pan-Arab news site Asharq Al-Awsat which reported on 25 April that ‘Iran does not recognize dual nationality.’ Also that a judiciary spokesman said “most of the detained dual nationals were facing espionage charges”. The Iranian conservative media are saying people are traveling to Iran in “the disguise of visiting relatives.” According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention the legal positions of the arrests are usually unjustified in Iran’s judicial system, handed legitimacy only by the regime’s Supreme Leader Khomenei.

Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in Iran by the Guardians of the Revolution, a group tasked with guarding the Iranian clerical regime’s interior and exterior integrity/security. Ratcliffe has become a so-called threat to Iranian national security simply for having visiting her family in Tehran four times already since the birth of her child Gabriella in 2014. The legitimacy of the charity aid worker’s detention has been described as “outrageous and arbitrary” and of whose family are lobbying UK Prime Minister Cameron via their ‘Free Nazanin’ campaign to intervene.

Reports of Nazanin Ratcliffe’s solitary confinement earlier in April 2016 showed her to have been held in an unknown location in Kerman Province, 1000km north of Tehran, as picked-up by human rights websites in French, Arabic and English language speaking countries. Additionally on May 10, 2016 the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reported that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were the first to be informed of the charity worker’s arrest said to be based on a “serious investigation involving national security.”


#FreeNazanin protest outside Downing Street London on Monday night, 19 Dec 2016, demanding the UK government bring home London mother Nazanin Ratcliffe imprisoned for 5 years in Iran’s Evin prison.

Photographer: Isabel Infantes, London. Publisher: The Media Express, Paris.

Sentenced on ‘secret’ charges

The arbitrary arrest of Nazanin Ratcliffe isn’t unprecedented; other dual nationals in detention include Iranian-Briton business consultant Kamal Foroughi 77, arrested in 2011; and Iranian-US citizen Siamak Namazi and his 80-year-old father.

In March 2016 the religious fundamentalist Iranian regime also imprisoned a French national holding joint Iranian-French citizenship. Nazak Afshar ‘was [arbitrarily] arrested upon arrival in Tehran where she had intended to visit her ailing mother,’ and was moved to Iran’s notorious Evin prison in Northwestern Tehran. Updates of the regime’s mistreatment of the female French foreign ministry official were deployed by NCRI’s Women’s Committee, April 21, 2016.

Ms. Nazak Afshar 58 had previously been arrested in 2009 although ‘freed following the intervention of the French government.’ Afshar was condemned to a 6 year prison sentence and Ratcliffe set to serve 5 years each convicted simply for holding dual citizenship.

About Rob Roberts (20 Articles)
Rob Roberts is a UK-born journalist living in Paris. He writes about Paris and international.

1 Comment on Downing Street protest: #FreeNazanin

  1. C Morningstar // December 20, 2016 at 14:45 //

    Thank you for updating us on this important story. It is ridiculous that dual citizens such as Nazanin are being held so unfairly. Please continue to provide us with more information on this situation; crossing fingers that this lady will be reunited with her family soon (as will all of the dual citizens currently being held illegally in Iran).


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