The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen of Iranian descent who has been detained in Iran since 2016, started a hunger strike on Sunday (24/10). The action was taken by the husband to denounce the British government which “has failed us” and failed to guarantee his wife’s freedom.
Richard Ratcliffe plans to stay in a tent outside the Foreign Affairs Office, a week after his wife lost an appeal against her second prison sentence in Iran.
In the online petition that has garnered more than 3.5 million signatures, Ratcliffe said he was starting a hunger strike, his second since 2018, to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government to “take responsibility” for his wife’s fate.
Tehran “remains the most at fault in the Nazanin case,” but “Britain has also let us down,” he said.
The reason, Ratcliffe said, was that his family was “caught in a dispute between two countries” over a longstanding debt of 400 million pounds ($7 trillion) that London had not paid since the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, who lives in London with her husband and daughter, has been detained in Iran since 2016 and is serving a five-year sentence.
He was found guilty of trying to overthrow the regime, an accusation he has denied.
He completed his sentence in March, but was sentenced to another year in prison for carrying out “propaganda against the system.”
Britain’s former foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, condemned the second verdict, saying Iran’s treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe amounted to torture and that he was being held unlawfully. [vm/ah]