The elite Revolutionary Guards arrested her in April 2016 while she and her two-year-old daughter, Gabriella, were about to return to the UK after a family visit to Iran.
She was accused of attempting to orchestrate a “soft overthrow” of the Islamic Republic. She was tried and found guilty on unspecified charges relating to national security in September.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, is missing out on her daughter growing up, her family say. She has decorated her cell with pictures from her infant daughter.
While Nazanin is in prison, Gabriella, now three, is living with Nazanin’s parents in Iran which means that she has not seen her mother or her father Richard, who remains in the UK, for half of her life.
Rebecca Jones, Nazanin’s sister-in-law, lives in Cardiff. She said, “Gabriella is three now and she has grown up so quickly without her mother and father.” Rebecca added, “Half of her life Gabriella has been away from her mum and dad. She’s started school without them, has been potty trained without them, and she now speaks Farsi and speaks little English.”
According to Rebecca, as a result of her imprisonment and separation from her family, Nazanin has been struggling with her mental health.
Referring to her brother and sister-in-law’s devastating situation regarding their daughter, Rebecca said, “Neither her mum or dad are her primary care givers, it’s her grandparents, and they’re both really struggling with that.”
Rebecca who is a Cwmbran based GP, said of Nazanin, “Physically she’s feeling better, her shoulder pain has eased off but now it’s more the depression. The longer this goes on for the worse it gets. She’s struggling quite a lot every time a new anniversary comes up in the calendar, it hits home that she is missing out on Gabriella and Richard’s lives.”
Nazanin’s husband, Richard, travelled to the United Nations last week, to attempt a meeting with the Iranian delegation and press his application for a visa so that he can visit Iran. His application has been processing for a number of months, preventing him from seeing his wife and daughter for 18 months.
“Nazanin now sees Gabriella twice a week and also has regular phone calls with Richard so we’re in a much better place than last year, but we’re still 18 months down the line and it doesn’t seem like it’s any closer to her freedom,” Rebecca said. “It’s hard for her to keep positive and to keep her hopes up.”