Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British woman imprisoned in Tehran on espionage charges, is to go on hunger strike in protest against being denied access to medical care. The British-Iranian dual national is asking for access to a doctor. She announced the hunger strike from Tehran’s Evin prison in a joint letter with a fellow prisoner, the…
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British woman imprisoned in Tehran on espionage charges, is to go on hunger strike in protest against being denied access to medical care.
The British-Iranian dual national is asking for access to a doctor. She announced the hunger strike from Tehran’s Evin prison in a joint letter with a fellow prisoner, the human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.
The women said they have planned an initial three-day hunger strike, which will be extended until their demands are met.
In a letter published by the Tehran-based charity Defenders of Human Rights Centre, Zaghari-Ratcliffe said she and Mohammadi were banned from accessing medical care.
“In protest to this illegal, inhuman and unlawful behaviour, and to express our concerns for our health and survival at this denial of specialist treatment, despite taking daily medicines, we will go on hunger strike from 14.01.2019 to 16.01.2019,” the letter said. “We announce that in the event of the authority’s failure to address these concerns and them further endangering our health, we will take further action.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told HuffPost UK: “She has felt she has to do something to show enough is enough, this has gone on too long. And this time I have not been able to talk her out of it.”
Ratcliffe said his wife was not receiving medical treatment for lumps in her breasts, or neurological and psychiatric care. He said he hoped the hunger strike would not last longer than three days.
Saturday marked 1,000 days since Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport on 3 April 2016. She spent her 40th birthday, on Boxing Day, in prison despite renewed calls for her release. Her four-year-old daughter, Gabriella, has been staying with family in Iran.
Richard Ratcliffe said she feared her continued imprisonment meant she would be unable to have a longer-for second child.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, from Hampsted, north London, was sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying, a charge she vehemently denies. Her husband is campaigning for her release and has called her continued detention a travesty of justice. The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been unable to persuade Tehran to release her.
Mohammadi, 46, is serving a 16-year sentence after being found guilty of “establishing and running the illegal splinter group Legam”, a human rights movement that campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty.