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Urgent question on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

7 October 2019

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Tulip Siddiq MP asked an urgent question to the Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) on the imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British-Iranian dual citizen who has been imprisoned without a fair trial in Iran since 2016. During her detainment she has been held in solitary confinement and denied medical care. Recently, Australian nationals imprisoned in Iran have been released. Tulip Siddiq MP has asked an urgent question on what actions the Government has taken to free Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) underscored his distress at the treatment of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, but warned against conflating her case as a dual-national with the situations of recently released foreign nationals.

The Minister stated:

"In recent weeks we have seen further cases of unwarranted detention of foreign nationals in Iran. These cases are completely devastating for the individuals concerned, and they're deeply and profoundly upsetting for their families. However we are of course delighted to hear that Jolie King, the British Australian national has been released from detention in Iran. This is good news, but it invites us to think about others who are detained in Tehran. But equating the cases of foreign nationals in detention in Iran and cases of British-Iranian dual nationals is unlikely to be helpful since Iran perceives the two to be quite distinct, and it is Iran with which we have to deal."

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Tulip Siddiq MP emphasised the conditions Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has to face in prison, paying particular attention to the lack of physical and mental healthcare. The MP also drew attention to the fact that other Iranian prisoners have been released in the time she has been detained.  

Tulip Siddiq MP said:

"My constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has now been imprisoned for three and a half years, during which she's been in solitary confinement, she's been chained to her bed and shackled, she's been through depression, she's been suicidal, she's been on hunger strike and they found lumps on her breast. And amongst all of this one her biggest traumas is the changing of fortunes of her fellow prisoners. Prisoners will come in, she will become close to them, and they will leave and go home, but she remains in prison."

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