January 3, 2019
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British charity worker jailed in Iran, has announced she will start a hunger strike on 14 January after being refused access to medical help, according to a letter published by an Iranian rights charity.
Writing from Tehran’s Evian prison, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe said she will start the three-day strike with fellow inmate and prominent rights activist Narges Mohammadi but continue it until their demands are met.
The British dual national and mother-of-one has been behind bars since she was arrested from Tehran airport while on holiday visiting family in April 2016.
The letter, published by Tehran-based Defenders of Human Rights Centre, said both women had been barred access to medication and treatment “despite frequent requests” and appeals to relevant authorities.
“In protest against this illegal, inhuman and non-religious practice, and due to concerns about our health and our lives, we will go on hunger strike for three days from 24 to 26 Dey 1397 [14 to 16 January 2019] and ask for immediate care,” the letter said.
“If the authorities refuse to address [our demands] and in case our health is put further in danger, we will stage our next protests. The officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be responsible for the consequences,” read the letter’s closing line.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who turned 40 last week in jail, was separated from her 21-month daughter and arrested at Tehran airport in 2016 while she was attempting to return home to London.
She was later handed a five-year jail sentence on espionage charges she denies, in a short trial where she was barred proper access to legal representation.
The Iranian authorities have accused her of spying, but her incarceration has been widely condemned as “a travesty of justice”. The Islamic Republic has so far denied appeals from senior British officials to release her.
The 28 December marked her 1,000th day behind bars.