Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘feeling trepidation’ ahead of hunger strike

A British-Iranian mother detained in Tehran feels a “strong sense of trepidation” ahead of embarking on a hunger strike after being denied health care, her husband said.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe will strike for three days starting this week with Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian human rights defender who is also behind bars in Evin prison.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has suffered a catalogue of mental and physical health complaints since she was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport on April 3 2016.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter Gabriella (The Free Nazanin Campaign/PA)

Richard Ratcliffe, speaking to the Observer, said: “We know a hunger strike has significant physical consequences the longer it goes on for and Nazanin is feeling a strong sense of trepidation.

“But there aren’t many ways she can say, ‘Enough is enough. Take me seriously’.”

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe will consider extending the hunger strike – a protest after being denied medical care in prison – if her demands to see a doctor are not met, Mr Ratcliffe said.

He said his wife was having medical treatment blocked for checking lumps in her breasts, neurological care over her neck pains and numbness in her arms and legs, and for seeing an outside psychiatrist.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, of Hampstead in north London, was sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying, a charge she strongly denies.

She spent her 40th birthday on Boxing Day in prison, where she has been detained for more than 1,000 days.

The charity worker’s four-year-old daughter Gabriella has been staying with family in Iran since Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was detained.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe has mounted a high-profile campaign for his wife’s release.