Despite Iran having improved relations with the West after the nuclear deal, people are still being detained under scepticism of links with the West. The latest is the arrest of a British-Iranian charity worker who is said to be in solitary confinement since early April.
Her distraught husband has appealed to the UK authorities to secure her early release. The 37-year old charity worker, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested on 3 April at an Iranian airport while on her way home to London from a visit to her parents. Zaghari-Radcliffe works as a project coordinator for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, reports BBC.
According to her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, she is being held in solitary confinement over “national security.” The couple’s 22-month-old daughter, Gabriella, is also stranded in Iran as her passport was taken away. Zaghari-Ratcliffe has not been allowed to see her daughter since the arrest. Ratcliffe has been advised against travel to Iran.
Ratcliffe, hailing from north London is panicking since he cannot actually talk to his wife. He was just relaying news from his wife’s family in Iran. His wife is said to be detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard after she was arrested at the airport. She was later sent to an undisclosed location in Kerman Province, 1,000km south of Tehran.
Ratcliffe said: “It is hard to understand how a young mother and her small child on holiday could be considered an issue of national security.”
With no access to a lawyer and restraint in calling overseas, Zaaghari cannot directly speak to her husband. Ratcliffe alleged that she was being forced to sign a confession “under duress.”
According to The Guardian, her plight is accentuated by Iran’s refusal to recognize dual nationality and consular access to British officials will be disallowed.
The lady charity worker was born in Tehran in 1978 and moved to the UK in 2007. She met Ratcliffe in London and they married in 2009. The arrest of Kamal Foroughi, the 75-year old British-Iranian businessman also hogged media attention. He was imprisoned on 2011 and is still in prison.
A petition calling for Prime Minister David Cameron’s intervention on the matter has attracted more than 3,000 signatories. Ratcliffe told the BBC he is worried about their small daughter Gabriella, who is a British citizen but was forced to stay with her grandparents in Iran because she does not have her passport.
He said: “She is clearly struggling and adapting and waking up in the middle of the night screaming and looking for mummy and looking for daddy, but she is also playing with her cousins and she is safe.”
The UK Foreign Office said they had been supporting the family of the British-Iranian national after being informed of her arrest and will continue to do so.