Anneliese Dodds sent a letter to EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, to urge her to press for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release from Iranian prison.
Nazanin is a British-Iranian dual citizen, who has lived in the UK since 2007. On the 3rd April 2016, during a family visit to Iran with her two-year old daughter Gabriella, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard detained her. For the first month of her detention, Nazanin was held in solitary confinement, which has led to a deterioration of her health.
During the whole time of her imprisonment, she was not allowed to see a lawyer.
Anneliese Dodds MEP says:
“I am very worried about Nazanin’s situation. This is why I have called on the EU to take action for her immediate release. She deserves to be free and with her family.”
In her reply to Anneliese’s letter, EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini states that she is “closely monitoring her [Nazanin’s] case”.
She adds that “the EU remains concerned regarding restrictions on civil liberties [in Iran] and we do hope to address these and other issues in human rights exchanges in a constructive spirit.”
Since her imprisonment, Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe, who is originally from South-East England and whose parents live in Fleet, has been campaigning tirelessly for her release.
He has set up the petition ‘Free Nazanin Ratcliffe ’ which has garnered nearly 800 000 signatures. You can sign it here.
Reacting to High Representative Federica Mogherini’s letter, Nazanin’s husband says:
"I appreciate the attention the Commission is giving to Nazanin's case and to human rights as it develops its relationship and business links with Iran.
"There is a realisation within the EU that there is a growing phenomenon in Iran of EU citizens being taken as political bargaining chips by the Revolutionary Guard. This is a threat that cuts across a number of member states and I am grateful for all that the EU can do to stand up to it."
The British Foreign office has recently updated its safety and security advice:
“There’s a risk that British nationals and British/Iranian dual nationals could be arbitrarily detained in Iran. In such cases the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has serious concerns that the subsequent judicial process falls below international standards.”
You can read the full text of the letter here. The letter was also signed by many other MEPs such as Anneliese’s Labour colleagues Seb Dance, Claude Moraes, Jude Kirton-Darling, Julie Ward and Neena Gill.
You can read the full text of the reply from High Representative Federica Mogherini here.