Emma Thompson urges more Government action to bring woman jailed in Iran home


Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson has hit out at a "bunch of angry molecules bumping around in Westminster" and urged the Government to do more to bring imprisoned Briton

Thompson spoke at a march in north London by supporters of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been imprisoned in Tehran since April 2016, when she was arrested at the city's airport after a holiday with her then 22-month-old daughter Gabriella.

Despite suffering from pneumonia, the 58-year-old Love Actually star appeared in Hampstead alongside Anglo-Iranian Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and her MP Tulip Siddiq.

Thompson called on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to "get on a plane", after his suggestion that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was training journalists in Iran exposed her to the threat of her five-year jail sentence being doubled.

She said: "We are a net of compassion and love for Nazanin and her family. This is what we human beings do best in stark contrast to the bunch of angry molecules bumping around in Westminster.

"If I can get out of bed with pneumonia to support a horribly abused member of our community then our foreign secretary can get on a plane and go to Iran and deal with the problem he's so seriously exacerbated."

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's mental state has suffered since a gaffe by Boris Johnson about her activities in Iran led to the threat of further charges.

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe who is detained in Iran, is joined by supporters including actress Emma Thompson (left) and Tulip Siddiq MP (right) in Hampstead, north London before setting out on a march to deliver a petition calling for her release from prison
A petition is calling for the release from prison of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Foreign Secretary later apologised for the "distress" and "suffering" he caused by his remarks, which has exposed her to the threat of her five-year jail sentence being doubled.

Mr Ratcliffe said earlier this month he hoped his wife would be home by Christmas after a "positive and constructive" meeting with Mr Johnson.

Ms Siddiq, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, said she had spoken to the British mother on the phone from prison.

The politician added: "We discussed how we would take both our daughters to Peppa Pig world when she's released."