Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s four-year-old daughter ‘wished her mum be free’ as she shared cake with her mother behind bars in Iran to mark the jailed charity worker’s 1,000th day behind bars
- Daughter Gabriella cut the cake with her mother to celebrate her birthday
- The four-year-old had ‘very proudly’ handmade her mother a necklace
- Nazanin’s husband Richard said it was a ‘tough day to be part of but a nice moment’
The four-year-old daughter of a British woman held captive in an Iranian jail for nearly three years ‘wished her mum be free’ as they shared a cake in prison to mark the charity worker’s 1,000th day behind bars.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe celebrated her 40th birthday in prison yesterday, December 26, with her daughter Gabriella.
Husband Richard Ratcliffe said Gabriella had ‘very proudly’ made a necklace as a gift for her mother who has been detained in an Iranian jail since 2016.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella. Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is in jail for allegedly plotting to topple the government in Tehran – charges she, her family, and the British Government strenuously deny
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe (left) was briefly reunited with her daughter Gabriella (far left) during her temporary release from prison in Iran earlier this year. Husband Richard Ratcliffe (right) has been campaigning for her release
Of the occasion Mr Ratcliffe said: ‘I think in all the days in prison it was a tough day to be a part of but a nice moment.’
Speaking about his wife’s Boxing Day birthday, Mr Ratcliffe told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Yesterday Garbriella was allowed in and Nazanin was able to make a small cake which they could celebrate with, and Garbriella cut the cake and wished her mum be free.’
He also said that his wife had been ‘flat’ in the run-up to her 40th birthday, having realised her dream of being released in advance of it would not come true.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, pictured with daughter Gabriela, was arrested for spying at Tehran airport in April 2016. Her family continue to protest her innocence
Mr Ratcliffe also highlighted that it was time to ‘move on’ from asking nicely for his wife to be released from prison as he urged foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt to escalate the matter.
Mr Ratcliffe has said that even though Mr Hunt has ‘very good and clear’ throughout the process, that he now needs to press the authorities on her release.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today Programme he said: ‘We need to go to him now and say nothing has happened and that we need to press. One thing we have asked him to do is take the case of Nazanin and others to the UN Security Council.
On Christmas morning the Foreign Secretary – who spoke to the family on Friday – tweeted using the hashtag #FreeNazanin
‘There is something called the Aria Formula where you can take your issue the UN council so we are asking formally for that.
‘Then there is diplomatic protection, it’s where she would be granted a status – so with what is happening to Nazanin, which is abuse, it would also be classed as an abuse to the British state, so it escalates it.
‘At the moment he is asking quite nicely for her to be released, but to turn it into a formal state dispute, those are the things we will be asking for in the New Year.’
Nazanin pictured with Gabriella (above). Nazanin has joint British Iranian nationality
Mr Ratcliffe said the deadline/landmark for the family is the 1,000 day mark, which will pass on 28 December.
‘Tomorrow is when I start pushing. I think its perfectly okay to ask nicely but now we need to move on.’
He also said there has been a ‘long battle’ with prison authorities in recent months over health matters, noting that his wife found ‘some lumps in her breasts again’ but claimed access to an oncologist has been blocked.
British-Iranian Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, of Hampstead in north London, was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport in April 2016 and sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying – a charge she vehemently denies.
Gabriella has been staying with family in Iran since Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was detained.