THIS week marked the second anniversary of the detention of a British-Iranian mother, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, in Tehran.
On Monday, family and friends of the Zaghari-Ratcliffes, who have a three-year-old daughter, Gabriella, gathered in West Hampstead, north-west London, to decorate a tree with yellow ribbons and flowers, and to lay some of more than 700 stones painted for Mothering Sunday.
The Free Nazanin Campaign is supported by the Vicar of Emmanuel Church, Hampstead, the Revd Jonathan Kester.
On Tuesday night, comedians joined forces in an event, “One Night of Freedom”, hosted by the British-Iranian comedian Shappi Khorsandi, which was described by Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, as an expression of freedom.
“We don’t ever get to control the actions of those in power — but we can try to control how we survive them. In Evin [where Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being held], laughter is a way of surviving. It releases the tension, but it is also a way of saying: ‘You don’t get to control our spirit. You don’t get to get us down.’”
He expressed disappointment at the failure of the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to secure Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release. She is being held in Evin Prison, Tehran, after being charged with plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime (News, 24 June 2016). She has always maintained that she was simply visiting her family.
“What has happened to Nazanin could happen to me, to any Iranian-born Brit,” Ms Khorsandi said on Tuesday. “The cruelty and injustice the Iranian government have inflicted on this family is unimaginable. I will not give up fighting for her release, and for little Gabriella to be back with her mummy and daddy, where every three-year-old belongs.”