UK government must step up to secure Nazanin’s release


Categories: News

This afternoon I took part in the Westminster Hall debate on the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Her situation, rightly, commanded the attention of so many Members of Parliament, that is was standing room only. Member from across the House including myself and several of my colleagues, made impassioned pleas to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office Minister calling for him to do more to secure Nazanin’s release from an Iranian prison.

The inescapable conclusion must be that this government is not serious about securing the release of Nazanin…”

The government must pay its debt to Iran and secure the release of Nazanin and other UK nationals arbitrarily detained there too. They are being made hostages in a situation not of their own making.

Over the last few weeks Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe has been staging a hunger strike outside the FCDO. The couple’s six year old daughter has been denied her mother. The government has to act. The MPs who spoke represent thousands of people across this country, including hundreds from Argyll & Bute, who have contacted me to express their dismay.

Brendan O’Hara met with Richard on day one and day ten of his hunger strike in Whitehall

I hope that following today’s debate, the FCDO heard that message loud and clear and will now act to bring Nazanin home.

This is what I said:

“Last year it felt negotiations were at a delicate stage and where one misspoken word could set back the whole process, yet here we are, stuck in the same situation as we were a year ago. And the inescapable conclusion must be that this government are actually not serious about securing the release of Nazanin. They have had so many chances, so many opportunities and every one has been missed.

“Twice I visited Richard during his hunger strike and I was struck by his resolve not to sit meekly back and wait for events to take their course.

“The government are letting the people down. They are letting Nazanin down and there’s a six-year-old girl stuck in the middle here.

“Minister, this isn’t good enough from your government. The public are not with you. Richard Ratcliffe is not going to go away and neither are his supporters in this House”.