The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

After three years, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe remains jailed in Iran. Our fight for her freedom must go on

At a time when Brexit is dominating the government’s agenda, we need to make sure our citizens come first. If we allow this to happen to one of us, we allow this to happen to all of us

Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe's husband delivers card to Iranian embassy

Today marks the three-year anniversary of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s wrongful imprisonment in Iran on false charges. This sad milestone takes place just days after Mother’s Day, the third Nazanin has spent apart from her four-year-old daughter, Gabriella. Currently living with grandparents in Tehran, Gabriella has been separated from both her parents for over half her life.

This is an injustice no innocent British family should ever have to suffer. An injustice that led to the British government granting this innocent mother from London diplomatic protection, a formal recognition by our government that Nazanin’s treatment fails to meet Iran’s obligations under international law and elevates this to a formal state to state issue. The travesty, as we have all seen, continues to this day.

Nazanin, like myself, is a naturalised British citizen. We were both born in countries with fewer freedoms than we have in the UK. Out of all the countries in the world, we chose to come to Britain, we chose to become British, we chose to build our lives and contribute to society here.

The inscription on my British passport reads: “Her Britannic Majesty’s secretary of state requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.”

When I first read this, I felt safe, I felt protected, I felt free. It never occurred to me that my British citizenship I so cherish would make me a target for foreign governments that had disagreements with mine – until Nazanin was detained in Iran.

If we allow this to happen to one of us, we allow this to happen to all of us. History has proven this to be true – which is why I campaign tirelessly to free Nazanin.

Nazanin and her family have been going through the worst period of their lives these last three years. Nazanin’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has been campaigning tirelessly to reunite his family while keeping Nazanin’s hopes up during their brief phone calls from Evin Prison, raising his daughter on Skype and going to work during the day to make sure they have a home to come back to. They need backup, they need caring people to come together and stand by their side, they need us.

And this is what we can do to help.

We need to keep contacting our MPs to make sure our government puts people before profit. At a time when Brexit is dominating the government’s agenda and they’re looking to secure trade deals, we need to make sure our citizens come first. We need to make sure Nazanin’s release and safe return to the UK comes first before any trade deals with Iran.

Calling on the Iranian authorities to release Nazanin immediately and unconditionally is also one way we can effect change, especially if we don’t let up. Sign the Change.org petition and share it with your friends and family.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Don’t stop showing support for Nazanin and her family. Come along to vigils and protests, including the upcoming event at 5pm today in Fortune Green, West Hampstead where supporters will be hanging messages of what home means to them on Gabriella's favourite tree. Follow the FreeNazanin campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let them know they’re not alone, that we’re here to help, that we’ll be by their side until Nazanin is free.

Richard has some pointers too. Speaking to me, he said: “A wise activist once told me: Love is a verb, not a noun. It is a doing word. What people do for Nazanin and Gabriella – signing petitions, letters to MPs, attending events – has not yet brought them home. But it has kept reminding us that beyond those prison walls there is also a world of care and kindness, that there will also be a different day. I am eternally grateful across the dark times to everyone who has helped keep that alive.”

When we come together from all walks of life to embrace our common humanity, we give each other hope, we give each other strength, we become the light that outshines the darkness. Let’s come together now to free Nazanin.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in