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Free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

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Free Nazanin, The campaign to free Nazanin continues.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year jail sentence in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison after being convicted last year in an unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court on unspecified “national security charges”.

According to a report released last June by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, political prisoners held in the Women’s Ward at Iran’s Evin Prison are routinely denied medical care and hospitalisation, face severely restricted or denied visitation rights even with their young children, are deprived of regular telephone contact with their families, and are not provided adequate nutrition.

These conditions, detailed in accounts by current and former inmates of the Ward, violate Iran’s State Prison Procedures and its international obligations regarding prisoner treatment.

There are known to be at least 25 inmates at Evin’s Women’s Ward at present – all prosecuted without due process and convicted in sham trials for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and belief.

“These women, who have done nothing more than peacefully express views or beliefs that the Government of Iran disagrees with, never should have been imprisoned to begin with,” Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Campaign, said: “and now they also suffer inhumane conditions that leave these women with permanently broken health.”

The Iranian authorities did later announce that Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s arrest in April 2106 was linked to her involvement with a network of bloggers imprisoned in 2014 for taking part in journalism training courses.

On 15 June 2016, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a statement saying that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had “participated in devising and carrying out media and cyber projects aimed at the soft overthrow of the government”.

She worked as an international media charity worker with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which does not operate directly or indirectly in Iran, and was in Iran on a private family visit.

Amnesty International believes she is a prisoner of conscience who has been imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association, and is calling for her immediate release.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has suffered a serious decline in her physical and mental health since being convicted in September 2016. In October she wrote a suicide letter to her husband Richard.

She also began a hunger strike on 13 November to express her despair over the prospect of never being released, but agreed to end the hunger strike a week later for the sake of her baby daughter.

Amnesty said the prison authorities appeared to be putting pressure on Zaghari-Ratcliffe to give up custody of her two year-old daughter Gabriella by saying she should be prepared to either take the young girl into prison with her or renounce her custody rights.

A campaign for Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release which is part of Amnesty’s “Write For Rights” initiative has to date gathered over 30,000 messages of support for her, messages which Amnesty is printing off and sending to her in Evin Prison.

In addition, numerous supporters and well-wishers have been sending letters and cards to her in Tehran.

Her husband is also gathering signatures supporting a petition calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to use her power and intervene.

To read and sign the petition, click here.

Amnesty International UK’s Individuals At Risk Campaign Manager, Kathy Voss, said: “This vigil is about keeping Nazanin’s case in the minds of the authorities back in Tehran.

“We urgently need to see Nazanin freed and allowed to return to Britain with her young daughter.”

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