British FM met jailed UK-Iranian's family during Tehran visit

British FM met jailed UK-Iranian's family during Tehran visit
2 min read
20 November, 2018
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Tuesday that he met with the family of jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during his visit to Iran.

Nazanin's family have criticised the UK government for not doing enough [Getty]
The British foreign secretary met with the family of jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during his visit to Iran, the senior official confirmed on Tuesday.

Jeremy Hunt met with her mother and brother during his brief visit to Tehran on Monday, and pressed for her release during his meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. 

"No child should have to go this long without their mother," Hunt wrote on Twitter alongside photos of him with Zaghari-Ratcliffe's four-year-old daughter Gabriella.

"British-Iranian dual nationals wrongly imprisoned must be freed," Hunt tweeted later on Monday.

"I've pressed hard on this today - innocent people should not be turned into diplomatic pawns."

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation - the media organisation's philanthropic arm - was arrested during a holiday with her toddler daughter in April 2016.

Iranian authorities accuse her of plotting against the government. Her family denies this, saying she was in Iran to visit family.

She is serving a five-year jail sentence for sedition but has denied all charges filed against her.

In August, her family said she was rushed to hospital after being found unconscious in her prison cell.

According to The Guardian, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard, confirmed she had a panic attack– the second time in a week.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe had spent time with her family for three days after being released temporarily from detention in August, but was then returned to jail, dashing her family's hopes of an extension.

The temporary release allowed Zaghari-Ratcliffe to be briefly reunited with her daughter before being forced to part once more, in a move that her husband Richard Ratcliffe said was hugely traumatic for both mother and daughter.

"She was shivering and shaking and crying - and said: 'How can you take me away from my baby, when she needs me'?" he said in a an email received by AFP. 

"Gabriella was crying and sucking her thumb - she didn't want her mummy to go back."

He said they received "mixed messages" from authorities following her surprise release from jail.

The charity worker was told at first her request for an extension had been approved, but when she returned home received a call from the prosecutor telling her to return to prison by sunset.

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