London: Bruce Kent visits Richard Ratcliffe on hunger strike at Iranian Embassy

  • Jo Siedlecka

Bruce Kent with Richard Ratcliffe

Bruce Kent with Richard Ratcliffe

On Thursday, peace campaigner Bruce Kent made a solidarity visit to Richard Ratcliffe who is on hunger strike outside the Iranian Embassy, protesting at the detention of his wife in Iran.

Richard's wife, dual British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been imprisoned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for more than three years now. She was arrested at Tehran airport on 3rd April 2016 as she was due to return to the UK from a family holiday with their 22 month old child Gabriella.

During her incarceration she has spent many months in solitary confinement, forced to walk blindfolded, and not been allowed to see a lawyer or a doctor. The Iranian authorities have accused her of spying, and asked her to sign a confession with 'contents unknown' - but there have been no charges. Her family have been informed that the investigation relates to an issue of 'national security'.

Richard said: "It is hard to understand how a young mother and her small child on holiday could be considered an issue of national security. She has been to Iran to visit her family regularly since making Britain her home. Nazanin currently works as a project manager for the Thomson-Reuters Foundation; which delivers charitable projects around the world. It does not work in Iran."

Little Gabriella is living with her grandparents in Tehran and is only allowed very short visits to her mother.

Last week Nazanin began her third hunger strike. In support of his wife, Richard set up camp in front of the Iranian Embassy a week ago. He has pledged to fast, drinking only mint tea and water, until Nazanin ends her strike. Family and friends are taking turns to stay with him and he is receiving hundreds of visitors each day, from supporters including politicians, actors and musicians. A wall of flowers and messages is growing around his tent.

On Thursday, Bruce Kent, vice chair of Pax Christ and CND went to see Richard.

Bruce Kent told ICN: "Richard's courage and faithful support for his imprisoned wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is so impressive.

"I will be writing to the Iranian Ambassador today to urge him to press his Government, as an act of clemency, to let her go home to her family. United States belligerency under Trump can only make things worse and very dangerous for us all."

If you would like to visit Richard, the Iranian Embassy is at 16 Princes Gate, SW7 1PT. The Post Office now is delivering mail to him at 'The Tent' Iranian Embassy is at 16 Princes Gate, SW7 1PT.

A petition appealing for the Prime Minister to use her power to intervene has already received more than two million signatures.

If you haven't already - please sign the petition here:

Tags: Nazanin, Bruce Kent, Richard Ratcliffe, Iranian Embassy, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, #FreeNazanin

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.