December 26, 2019

A Birthday Wish of Freedom for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Today is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s 41st birthday. It will be her third birthday behind bars in Iran, away from her husband and daughter. Lacking due process or evidence, Nazanin was convicted of spying by Iranian courts in 2016. Iranian authorities have often used vague language to detain and convict Iranian dual nationals on trumped up charges.

Her husband has relentlessly pursued all avenues to help free his wife, including calling on British officials to secure Nazanin’s release. On her birthday, Mr. Ratcliffe also revealed that Nazanin had met another detainee while in prison, Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Australian academic arrested by Iranian authorities in September, 2018.

Nazanin is said to have seen Moore-Gilbert at the health clinic, where she was being checked after beginning a hunger strike on Christmas Eve. A number of women have joined Moore-Gilbert in her hunger strike, including French-Iranian academic, Dr. Fariba Adelkhah, who was detained in similarly unfounded circumstances as the other women.

In a letter released by Center for Human Rights in Iran, Moore-Gilbert and Adelkhah stated: “We are striking not only to demand our immediate freedom, but to ask for justice for the countless, thousands, unnamed yet not forgotten men and women who have suffered the same fate as ours or worse, and have been imprisoned in Iran, having committed no crime.”

Iranian authorities must stop these unwarranted arrests, respect due process, and end its practice of detaining foreign nationals as bargaining chips. In spite of their unjust detentions and lamentable situation, the resilience and solidarity of these women is truly remarkable. Mr. Ratcliffe shared a moving gesture from Nazanin in her encounter with Moore-Gilbert, “Before the guards pulled them apart Nazanin was able to tell Kylie that the world is watching her story & it will be ok.” The world is indeed watching and hoping that justice will prevail over the political games of nations.

To sign Amnesty’s petition to free Nazanin, click here.


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