Iran: British Iranian arbitrarily arrested and detained in solitary confinement

May 14
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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, with her husband and 22 -month- old daughter
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, with her husband and 22 -month- old daughter

Article 19
Tuesday, 10 May 2016

ARTICLE 19 is extremely concerned by the arbitrary arrest, and subsequent detention without charge, of a British Iranian woman. She is currently in solitary confinement in Iran, having reportedly signed a confession under duress, the contents of which remain unclear. Her family have been informed that the investigation relates to an issue of ‘national security’ however no further information has been provided.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has not been allowed access to a lawyer, neither has she been able to visit her daughter or call her husband; from the airport, she was transferred to an unknown location in Kerman Province.

“The arrest of Zaghari-Ratcliffe is extremely concerning, and indicates that Iran continues to detain without charge or due process under the pretense of ‘national security’ concerns.”said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

On 3 April, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Imam Khomeini Airport when returning to the UK from holiday in Iran, visiting her family. Zaghari-Ratcliffe currently works as a project manager for the Thomson-Reuters Foundation, which delivers charitable projects around the world, though it does not work in Iran.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s one-year-old daughter, Gabriella Ratcliffe, who was travelling with her mother, has had her British passport confiscated, so is unable to leave the country, and remains in Iran with her grandparents.

 “Nazanin is a kind, caring and sociable person, who would do anything for her family. It will be torturing her to be stuck in solitary confinement, away from her baby and all her family, thinking about all the worry that they are going through and whether she will be able to see them again. I have not been able to reach her at all, or speak to her,”said her husband, Richard Ratcliffe.

Iran continues to arbitrarily arrest journalists, artists, and human rights defenders without charge: Zaghari-Ratcliffe is among the most recent of these. The intention behind her arrest remains unclear.

“We again urge that Iran upholds its international human rights obligations, including the right to a fair trial: Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be released immediately, and the right to a fair trial must be upheld,”added Hughes.

With diplomatic relations improving between Iran and the UK, ARTICLE 19 urges the UK, and the international community more widely, to increase pressure on Iran to fulfil its human rights obligations.

Furthermore, we call on Iran to uphold its national and international human rights obligations, including the right to fair trial, and demand the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other remaining journalists, artists, and human rights defenders in prison.  

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