During the interview, which you can listen to here, Richard Ratcliffe talks about the newest fake charges levied against his wife, how the Regime reneged on its promise of compassionate release for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on her daughter’s birthday, and how it feels to have not seen his wife and daughter for over two years.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in April 2016, as she and her toddler Gabriella attempted to fly back home after visiting family in Iran for the Iranian New year (Nowruz).
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 38, was falsely charged with “undermining the regime” and was sentenced in September 2016 to six years in the notorious Evin Prison for her supposed crimes. Then on May 21, 2018, Ratcliffe learned that his wife would be facing new charges of “spreading propaganda against the regime”.
The date for the new trial has not yet been fixed, but there are some problems that arise from a recent Iranian law which only allows defendants in national security cases – charges which are often levied against political prisoners and foreign nationals – to only pick from a list of 20 lawyers.
Ratcliffe said that he didn’t know why the compassionate release had been denied, but that Gabriella had been able to visit her mother in prison for an hour on her birthday. However, this was only because it lined up with the prison’s visiting days.
This denial of compassionate release, which seemed almost certain, was dreadful for Zaghari-Ratcliffe as it has exacerbated the fragility of her mental state. Her mental and physical health has been gravely affected by her imprisonment.
Ratcliffe also revealed that it has been especially hard to hold onto his relationship with his daughter, who is stuck in Iran as the Regime won’t release her passport, because she is essentially growing up in a different country and can’t speak to her father much.
This tragic situation is unfortunately very common as Iran has imprisoned many foreign nationals over the past two years. The only way to stop the mullahs from taking hostages is to remove the regime from power, which is also the wish of the Iranian people.
No doubt Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case will be brought up at the Free Iran gathering in Paris on June 30, where over 100,000 people will gather to call for regime change.