Richard Ratcliffe, husband of jailed British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has ended his hunger strike today. Ratcliffe has been protesting outside of the Foreign Office for the UK government to assist in securing his wife’s release and has not eaten in 21 days.
In a statement released on Twitter this afternoon, the Free Nazanin campaign announced that the last event of their protest would take place at 1:30pm and then Richard would go to hospital to receive necessary medical care. He said he was doing this at the request of his wife, saying that their seven-year-old daughter Gabriella “needs two parents”.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was imprisoned in Iran and separated from her family in April 2016, accused of spying and training Iranian diplomats to report against their own political regime, charges she has vehemently denied. She was initially sentenced to five years in prison, however comments from Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary at the time, about her being in Iran to train journalists, led to a retrial. She has been sentenced to an additional year in prison but is currently under house arrest in Tehran waiting for this to begin, unable to visit her family in the UK.
Ratcliffe has been visited by a number of celebrities and politicians throughout his three-week hunger strike, though crucially not by any current Cabinet ministers. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met with Iranian diplomats as a part of the COP26 discussions, though it is not believed Nazanin’s case was a part of the agenda. Allegations have been made that her detention is linked to an unpaid debt from the UK government to the leaders of Iran, though this has not been proven by any official Government sources.