As she awakened to the first anniversary of her detention in Iran, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could only wish to see her family dancing to Michael Jackson in in the sitting room of their home.
The 38 year old British-Iranian woman has been jailed in Tehran for an alleged plot to overturn the government. She was arrested on April 3, 2016 at Tehran airport, awaiting their return flight, after visiting relatives in Iran with her daughter, Gabriella.
In September, she was imprisoned for five years and lost an appeal in January. She continues to maintain her innocence.
Her husband, Richard, said it had been a “long year of separation, a year of our lives interrupted”.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe has not been told the charges of which she was convicted, however, media reports in Iran say she is accused of being “one of the chief members of networks of adversary institutions, who, with the direction and support of foreign media and espionage services, has committed her criminal acts over the past few years”.
Her family say that she works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Gabriella remains stranded in Iran after Iranian officials confiscated the child’s British passport. The toddler is cut off from her father, and is currently being cared for by her maternal grandparents.
On Sunday, the one year anniversary of her arrest, family and friends gathered at Fortune Green close to Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s home in Hampstead, north-west London. Yellow ribbons were to a tree in the park along with quotes from prisoners at Evin prison in Iran, where Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being held, describing what they would do with one day of freedom.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s wish reads, “My fondest dream has always been to arrive at our home. You ask me if I want to have a cup of tea, then make me one. I just sit back and watch you two play. This is the image I had most when in solitary confinement. How I wish I could watch you both dance in the middle of our sitting room to the Michael Jackson music – like when Gabriella was only tiny.” She also said she would like to “put a huge paper on the wall” and “draw a world in which there are no prisons, walls or fences – and let Gabriella do the colouring”.
Her husband said, “We’re keeping an eye on the future, and one day this will be finished.”