Tulip Siddiq MP asks urgent question on British citizens in foreign prisons and Coronavirus
2 March 2020
Tulip Siddiq has asked ministers from the Foreign Office about reports that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an Iranian-British dual citizen imprisoned in Iran, has caught coronavirus.
At least one inmate of the Iranian jail where Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is currently imprisoned is thought to have died from COVID-19, but authorities are refusing to test those displaying symptoms.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran since 2016 after being charged with spying and "spreading propaganda" against the Iranian regime. She has always denied these allegations.
Nigel Adams MP: "We are offering Iran a comprehensive package"
Nigel Adams MP told the House that "protecting British citizens at home and abroad is a top priority" for the Government, and that "the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is monitoring Coronavirus throughout the world closely through its diplomatic network."
The Minister for Asia said:
"We are offering Iran a comprehensive package of both material and financial support to stem the rapid spread of the disease, and today a plane departed the UK with vital equipment such as equipment for a laboratory test as well as other equipment including protective bodysuits and gloves."
Tulip Siddiq: "this is potentially fatal"
Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Tulip Siddiq MP, said "I have raised concerns about my constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's health several times in the Chamber, but this is potentially fatal." She added that the prison in which Nazanin is "being held hostage has reported cases of Coronavirus and she is seriously ill, displaying symptoms associated with the virus."
The Member told MPs:
"Iran has actually pulled some of its prisoners out of jails and Britain is pulling its non-essential staff out of the Tehran embassy in Iran. Yet the Iranian authorities are refusing point blank to test Nazanin for Coronavirus in jail or any other British citizens in their jails."
Ms Siddiq went on to ask the Minister:
"What assurances can he give that any results given by the Iranians will be reliable? [...] If you leave British citizens in harms way for long enough they will come to harm."
- Watch Parliament TV: Urgent Question on British citizens imprisoned overseas and Coronavirus
- Transcripts of proceedings in the House of Commons Chamber are available in Hansard online three hours after they happen.
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