Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘feeling trepidation’ ahead of hunger strike
The 40-year-old has been detained for more than 1,000 days.
A British-Iranian mother detained in Tehran feels a “strong sense of trepidation” ahead of embarking on a hunger strike after being denied health care, her husband said.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe will strike for three days starting this week with Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian human rights defender who is also behind bars in Evin prison.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has suffered a catalogue of mental and physical health complaints since she was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport on April 3 2016.
Richard Ratcliffe, speaking to the Observer, said: “We know a hunger strike has significant physical consequences the longer it goes on for and Nazanin is feeling a strong sense of trepidation.
“But there aren’t many ways she can say, ‘Enough is enough. Take me seriously’.”
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe will consider extending the hunger strike – a protest after being denied medical care in prison – if her demands to see a doctor are not met, Mr Ratcliffe said.
He said his wife was having medical treatment blocked for checking lumps in her breasts, neurological care over her neck pains and numbness in her arms and legs, and for seeing an outside psychiatrist.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, of Hampstead in north London, was sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying, a charge she strongly denies.
She spent her 40th birthday on Boxing Day in prison, where she has been detained for more than 1,000 days.
The charity worker’s four-year-old daughter Gabriella has been staying with family in Iran since Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was detained.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe has mounted a high-profile campaign for his wife’s release.
Monique Villa, chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said: “It is extremely shocking to see our colleague Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe going on hunger strike to protest at her inhumane treatment in Evin prison, at a time where her health is already at its poorest. I am sincerely worried about the dire consequences of this.
“As her employer, I repeat that Nazanin is totally innocent, and certainly not spy material, as portrayed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
“The Iranian government and judiciary must act immediately, release her and allow urgent treatment before her health deteriorates any further. I call upon those responsible to free her now.”
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