Prison UK-Iranian mother launches hunger strike
Richard Ratcliffe, husband of the imprisoned British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, says she decided to conduct a hunger strike when Tehran tried to force her to spy on Britain
A captive British-Iranian mother launched a hunger strike Monday due to a lack of medical care and attempts by Tehran to force her to spy on Britain, her husband said.
The high-profile cause prompted British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to call on the Iranian ambassador to demand that Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe "has immediate access to the health care she needs".
"Her persistent detention is FULLY unacceptable and her treatment by the Iranian authorities is a fundamental violation of human rights," Hunt said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, was arrested in April 2016 when she left Iran after taking her daughter to visit her family.
Her hunger strike initially lasted three days and could be extended if she failed to obtain the assurance that she had the right medical care.
She was accompanied by the Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who was arrested in 2015 and imprisoned for 10 years for forming and managing an illegal group, among other things.
– & # 39; Slow torture & # 39; –
A project manager at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the media group, Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was sentenced to five years in September 2016 for allegedly trying to overthrow the Iranian government.
She denies all charges against her.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the condition of his wife has deteriorated despite the fact that she detected a lump in her breast and complained of numbness in her arms and legs.
Chief executive of Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monique Villa, called her treatment "slow and cruel torture & # 39 ;.
But Ratcliffe said: "What really pushed her over" was a hearing on December 29, when Iraq's Revolutionary Guard made her release dependent on her spying on Britain.
"She clearly did not want to say yes, and they did not want to hear no, so she was instructed to think about it, they never came back", he told journalists in London after talking to his wife over the telephone earlier Monday.
Ratcliffe said it was important for his wife's release to be unconditional, so that "we are not left behind with this influence on her family" in Iran.
Hunt confirmed that he would meet later on Monday with Ratcliffe, who is trying to obtain "diplomatic protection" for his wife – a status that obliges Iran to allow British diplomats to check her condition.
Tehran refuses to recognize the British citizenship of Zaghari-Ratcliffe and treats her detention as a household affair.
Zghari-Ratcliffe's detention has received wide attention in Iran, marking her 1,000-day prison sentence by broadcasting a film with previously unreleased footage of her arrest at Tehran Airport.
It was shown as part of a documentary about multiple series about "interference of enemies in domestic affairs."
Ratcliffe said he believed there was an internal struggle within Tehran about how best to deal with Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other inmate dual subjects.
"It is the first time she has received an interrogation interview with interrogators for over a year," he said.
There is "a part that wants to solve the issue of Nazanin and other dual subjects, and a part that wants to stand and show that it is hard and strong against the rest of the world," Ratcliffe said.
"It feels, if I'm honest, that it's a sort of clambering maneuver."
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