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- Knight of the Garter
Women from across the planet have united to launch a hunger strike to put pressure on the UK Government to fight for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s freedom from an Iranian prison.
Campaigners with FiLiA, a female-led volunteer organisation working for the liberation of women, will take turns to fast for 24 hours after Nazanin’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, ended his own 21-day hunger strike, outside the Foreign Office last month.
It follows a wave of renewed support to get Nazanin back to her family including the launch of a Christmas single by The Christians called Naz Don’t Cry. Carol singers will protest outside Downing Street on Monday at 6pm.
The global fast, which also begins on Monday, has participants from the UK, India, Morocco and Iran already signed up to take part.
Lisa-Marie Taylor, the chief executive of FiLiA, told The Guardian: “Richard has made it clear he doesn’t want people to get poorly.
“So we thought we’d organise a chain of women to each fast for a day to keep the pressure on the government and show Nazanin how much support she has from women in the UK and globally.”
Participants in the campaign will be asked to email their MP to demand Boris Johnson fulfil his promise that Britain would repay the £400m it owed Iran for an unfulfilled 1970s arms deal, seen as a precondition for her release.
“There is something humbling about realising people who you didn’t know about are doing this act of solidarity,” Ratcliffe said of fast. “That no one’s letting us be forgotten.”
He spoke of the difficulty of explaining to his daughter Gabriella why her mother hasn’t been returned home this Christmas, saying: “She certainly has been asking why it didn’t work: ‘You told me you were going on hunger strike to get Boris Johnson to get mummy back and mummy’s not back yet.’ And we’re preparing for Christmas without mummy again.”