Skip to main content

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband joins her hunger strike

Richard Ratcliffe has begun a hunger strike outside the Iranian embassy in London to call for his wife's release
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's clerical establishment (AFP)

The husband of jailed British Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has begun a hunger strike outside the Iranian embassy in London to demand the release of his wife. 

Zaghari-Ratcliffe started her third hunger strike against her continued imprisonment in Iran on Saturday.

The project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit.

She was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's clerical establishment, a charge denied by her family and the foundation, a charity organisation that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and Reuters News.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who denies charges of spying in Iran, told her husband Richard Ratcliffe in a phone call on Saturday morning that she was beginning a hunger strike to demand her unconditional release.

"Today I received a phone call from Nazanin in prison. She had informed the judiciary that she has begun a new hunger strike - she will drink water – to protest at her continuing unfair imprisonment," Ratcliffe, who immediately decided to join her in her action, said in a statement.

"Today she sounded nervous but calm. Her demand from the strike, she said, is for unconditional release. She has long been eligible for it."

Ratcliffe, who is sleeping in a tent outside the embassy, has not seen his daughter, who was arrested for espionage along with her mother and now lives with her grandparents in Tehran, for 1,185 days.

Strained ties with Iran

Britain has long called for Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release, a demand repeated on Twitter by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Saturday.

Her jailing has added further tension to Britain's already strained ties with Iran.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe begins hunger strike in Iran over lack of medical treatment
Read More »

Iran's judiciary could not immediately be reached for comment, the Reuters news agency said.

Tehran has previously said her case was in the judiciary's hands.

In January, Zaghari-Ratcliffe went on hunger strike for several days in protest after her family said she was refused permission to see a doctor to examine lumps in her breast and to address other health issues.

Her family said she ended the hunger strike a few days later following a decision to grant her medical treatment.