Television presenters visit Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband on hunger strike

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Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign Office in London. The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has gone on hunger strike for the second time in two years and intends to sleep in a tent at night following his wife losing her latest appeal in Iran. Picture date: Monday October 25, 2021. (PA Wire)
Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign Office in London. The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has gone on hunger strike for the second time in two years and intends to sleep in a tent at night following his wife losing her latest appeal in Iran. Picture date: Monday October 25, 2021. (PA Wire)

Claudia Winkleman and Victoria Coren Mitchell have visited the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as he continues his hunger strike.

Richard Ratcliffe is on day nine of a hunger strike outside the Foreign Office in London which he started after his wife lost her latest appeal in Iran.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national, has been in custody in the country since 2016 after being accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

She was taking her daughter Gabriella to see her family when she was arrested and was sentenced to five years in prison shortly afterwards, spending four years in Evin Prison and one under house arrest.

The television presenters posted a picture on Twitter showing Mr Ratcliffe sitting between them and holding a picture of his wife.

Coren Mitchell, a professional poker player and Only Connect host, tweeted: “We went to see Richard Ratcliffe on day 9 of his hunger strike.

“The ongoing torment of this innocent family is a failure of British democracy in its core aim: to protect its citizens.

Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign Office in London (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign Office in London (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

“Nazanin must come home. How on earth will we reverse climate change if we can’t even fix this?”

She added: “If you are in London and want Richard, Nazanin and Gabriella to know you care, you will find him on the steps of the Foreign Office.”

Speaking after the visit, Mr Ratcliffe told the PA news agency: “It was lovely of them. They both made patches for our giant patchwork quilt, and were very caring.

“Today is day nine, so getting a bit colder, and a bit slower – but more comfortable than yesterday’s rain.”

Asked how he was holding up, he said: “Mentally and physically a bit slower, and I get tired more, so lots of sitting down. But still continuing for now.”

According to her family, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was told by Iranian authorities that she was being detained because of the UK’s failure to pay an outstanding £400 million debt to Iran.

Rupert Skilbeck, director of Redress, said “Following an inconclusive meeting with the Foreign Secretary last week, Richard is now on his ninth day of hunger strike.

“He’s in a weakened state but firm in his resolve to highlight the need for the UK to take a more robust approach in his wife’s case.

“After years of setbacks for Nazanin, what it will take for the UK to take a stand against Iran to protect British citizens?

“It’s a blinding paradox that representatives of the regime that is holding Nazanin hostage are allowed to come to the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow while Nazanin, a British citizen, can’t return home to her family.”

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