Free Nazanin: Women stage global fast to pressure UK government to take action

The campaign by FiLiA, a female led organization that fights for the liberation of women, follows on from Richard Ratcliffe’s recent 21 day hunger strike outside the Foreign Office.

Women are taking turns to fast for 24 hours to demand the government take action to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is “alone, intimidated and ill-treated” in detention in Iran.

The campaign by feminist organisation FiLia, follows on from Richard Ratcliffe’s 21 day hunger strike outside the Foreign Office, and will see women globally take part in a fast relay.

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FiLiA will be sharing photos on social media via hashtags #FreeNazanin, #Women4Nazanin and #Hungry4Justice and collect messages of support for Nazanin and her family.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen, has now been detained in Iran for more than five years. PIC: Contributed.

Activist Sophie Walker, who will be joining the fast, said: “Nazanin has been waiting for us for too long.

“I’m utterly ashamed that our government has left her alone, intimidated and ill-treated for years.”

Ms Walker, a journalist who founded the Women’s Equality Party WEP), continued: “I hope that this action prompts our prime minister and foreign secretary to think again, and I hope that there is some small comfort for Nazanin in knowing that her sisters stand with her.

“The power of women’s solidarity can be a comfort in the darkest times. I hope FiLiA’s campaign can bring some warmth and light to her and I am glad to join.”

The group were inspired by 89-year-old Margaret Owen, a human rights barrister from Hammersmith, who went without food for almost six days to support the Free Nazanin campaign.

Ms Owen previously told LondonWorld: “Nobody should praise me for doing five days, it was nothing. It was important for me that because he’s stopped his hunger strike it was no longer a story.

“We can’t let the spotlight go off on this. We’ve got to keep the pressure on. Boris is responsible - he’s torn that family apart.”

While Raquel Rosario Sanchez a spokeswoman for FiLiA said: “We are inspired by the courage shown by Nazanin herself, her family and supporters like Margaret Owen, who fasted for almost a week and kept the media interested in this case.

“We are asking women to participate in a relay of fasting to keep the spotlight on Nazanin’s struggle. We are also asking women to write to their MPs to make their voices heard.

“However, it is deplorable that women from all walks of life have to resort to these tactics to ensure women’s human rights are protected.

“We call on the British government to support Richard in securing Nazanin’s release and to reunite Nazanin with her daughter Gabriella."

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been held in Iran for five years on spying charges, recently lost her appeal against a second prison sentence.

The 43-year-old mother-of-one from West Hampstead,Camden, has been detained in Iran since 2016 and has not seen her seven-year-old daughter Gabriella in two years.

She is currently staying with her mother in Tehran, but is not allowed to leave the country, ahead of her sixth Christmas away from her family.

Her husband believes she is being held hostage by Iran over a £400 million arms debt owed to them by the UK.

“I don’t know how he (Boris Johnson) can dare to enjoy his Christmas if Nazanin is not back by then.

“There are so many issues that don’t have a solution. But this has a solution. Pay that debt now.”

Women can sign up to take part in the action here.