Iranian-British citizen Nanzanin Zaghari Ratcliffe never thought she would be detained by the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization when she and her 22-month-old daughter arrived at Tehran’s international airport, on their way back home to the UK on April 3, 2016.
On the anniversary of the forced separation, her husband Richard Ratcliffe asked supporters to describe their ideal “One day of freedom” on a Facebook page for the Free Nazanin Ratcliffe campaign, which has received nearly 900,000 supportive signatures.
The postings will be turned into a book “To show and inspire Nazanin when she is releasedways to rediscover life and all its maybes when freedom finally is returned,” said Ratcliffe in a statement on April 2, 2017.
“It has been a long year of separation, a year of our lives interrupted,” he added.
Upon being arrested at the Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport last year following a holiday visit with family, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter Gabriella was placed in the care of her elderly Iran-based grandparents.
The authorities have blocked attempts to bring her back home to the UK. Ratcliffe has meanwhile not been able to travel to Iran for safety reasons.
On April 3, 49 members of the European Parliament released a joint letter calling for the release of EU citizens currently imprisoned in Iran, including Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
The letter said the MEPs are “Gravely concerned by the situation of dual EU-Iranian nationals being held prisoner in Iran on vaguely-worded charges, subject to unfair trials, as well as to inhumane conditions in prison, including the denial of medical care.”
“In the context of the new emerging relationship of dialogue between Iran and Europe, we urge you to release all of these prisoners, and in the meantime, guarantee them improved conditions of detention,” added the letter.
Some of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s fellow inmates also contributed to the “One Day of Freedom” event.
“It has been one year since Nazanin was arrested, separated from her daughter and subsequently sentenced to five years in jail on unknown charges,” said CEO Monique Villa in a statement released that day.
“This unbearable situation has lasted way too long, and has caused Nazanin and her family unimaginable pain.”
The judiciary’s ongoing imprisonment of dual nationals, usually arrested by the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization or the Intelligence Ministry, reflects hardliners’ efforts to prevent the engagement with the West that the Rouhani administration has sought to encourage.