Husband of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe ends hunger strike as his daughter ‘needs two parents’


Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe’s husband has ended his three-week hunger strike after making a promise to his imprisoned wife.

Richard Ratcliffe has been camped outside the Foreign Office in London for the past 21 days as part of his long-standing campaign for his wife’s release from Iranian prison.

But on Saturday he tweeted: “Day 21 #FreeNazanin Today I have promised Nazanin to end the hunger strike Gabriella needs two parents Thank you all for your overwhelming care these past three weeks.”

He thanked members of the public for their support and “keeping our family in the light”, before adding: “I will be going to the hospital for a full check up.”

During the strike, Mr Ratcliffe, who lives with the couple’s daughter in north London, has been visited by a number of celebrities including Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman and TV presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell.

His wife, a British-Iranian dual national, has been in custody in Iran since 2016 after being accused of being a spy.

She was taking her daughter to visit family when she was arrested at Tehran Airport and sentenced to five years in jail, spending four in Evin Prison and one under house arrest.

More on Nazanin Zaghari-ratcliffe

Victoria Coren Mitchell and Claudia Winkleman arrive to meet Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, outside the Foreign Office in London, during his continued hunger strike following his wife losing her latest appeal in Iran. Picture date: Monday November 8, 2021.
Victoria Coren Mitchell and Claudia Winkleman arrive to meet Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign Office

According to her family, she was told by local authorities that she was being detained because of the UK’s failure to pay an outstanding £400m debt to Iran.

Over the past three weeks Mr Ratcliffe had a meeting with foreign office minister James Cleverley after government officials hosted Iranian deputy foreign minister Bagheri Kani.

Mr Ratcliffe told Sky News the meeting had been “depressing” and left him without hope.

Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, stands next to his daughter Gabrielle during a second hunger strike, outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London, Britain October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
The couple’s daughter Gabriella is pictured with her father during the strike

“If someone is acting in bad faith and they’re taking someone for leverage the question is: ‘Are you moving forward on those issues and what are you doing to discourage them from keeping on playing games?’,” he said.

“Well we heard nothing on one and we heard nothing on the other. So we stand here with empty stomachs and empty hearts.”

But he later said his wife would have been “less deflated” by the underwhelming meeting than he was.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
The family are pictured together before Nazanin’s imprisonment

His mother Barbara had urged the government to do more to free her daughter-in-law.

“How far are they going to let my son get ill and when we’ve got so much support?”, she said.

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