Jailed aid worker Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband appeals to Iranian minister on UK visit

This file photo shows Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (R) posing for a photograph with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella (L). (AFP/Free Nazanin campaign)
Updated 21 February 2018

Jailed aid worker Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband appeals to Iranian minister on UK visit

LONDON: Richard Ratcliff has made a further appeal for the release of his wife, British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been imprisoned in Iran since April 2016.
Ratcliff delivered letters of support for his wife, a charity worker serving a five-year prison sentence in Iran, to the Iranian embassy on Wednesday morning. He is hoping they will be seen by Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi, who is visiting the UK this week.
“We’re delivering the letters today because of the opportunity of the deputy foreign minister being here,” Ratcliff told the Press Association outside the Iranian embassy in west London.
“He’s here to improve relations between Iran and the UK and we want Nazanin to be right at the front of that.”
He was joined by supporters from Amnesty International, who said they would not rest until her release.
Zaghari-Ratciffe, a project manager for Thomson Reuters Foundation says she was in Iran to visit relatives with her daughter Gabriella, who was 18 months old at the time of her mother’s arrest.
She stands accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime, but many believe her incarceration is a political ploy.
UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson inflamed the situation last year when he told a parliamentary committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in Iran to train journalists. He later apologized for comments that risked worsening her plight.
Iranian officials recently proposed moving Zaghari-Ratciffe and her daughter, who is currently residing with her grandparents in Iran, to a rented house under armed gaurd. Her husband has refused the offer.
“The family’s view was that this would simply be a different kind of imprisonment, and not an option for Nazanin and Gabriella.”
“We are not about to put Gabriella under armed guard,” he said in a statement.

Global rights groups condemn deadly attack on Yemen jail

Updated 06 April 2020

Global rights groups condemn deadly attack on Yemen jail

  • Internationally-recognized government has accused Iranian-backed Houthi militia of carrying out the attack

LONDON: Two international rights groups on Monday condemned an attack on a prison in Yemen’s besieged city of Taiz that left six women and a child dead.

The internationally-recognized government has accused Iranian-backed Houthi militia of carrying out Sunday’s attack.

The Houthis targeted the female section of the prison with mortar shells, according to the government’s Saba news agency.

“This is a criminal and bloodthirsty gang that has long targeted civilian gatherings and residential areas. In addition to the carnage in the prison, they gunned down today two children in eastern Taiz, killing one and leaving the other in critical condition,” Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni army spokesman in Taiz, told Arab News, adding that the prison is almost 12km from the nearest battlefield.

“They targeted the prison with a Katyusha rocket followed by five mortal shells which show that they deliberately sought to kill civilians.”

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its hospital in Taiz received the casualties.

“MSF-supported Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz city received the bodies of six women and one child who were killed in an attack on the central prison in Taiz,” it said on Twitter.

The government said 28 other female prisoners were wounded.

“Taiz citizens continue to suffer from the ongoing violence in the sixth year of the protracted conflict in Yemen,” MSF said.

“These attacks on civilians, whether indiscriminate or targeted, are unjustifiable breaches of international humanitarian law.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross said attacks on prisons were banned under international law.

“The ICRC deplores yesterday’s attack on Taiz central prison that left women and children dead and injured,” the ICRC said on Twitter.

“Prisons and their inmates are protected under international humanitarian law and can not be a targeted, it said.

Meanwhile, the UN's envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths condemned the attack on Twitter, saying: "I condemn the heinous attack on Taiz's central prison which killed and injured several women and children.Civilians and civilian objects including prisons must be protected as per international humanitarian law."



The attack was also blasted by the International Committee for the Red Cross in Yemen.



Taiz, a city of 600,000 people in southwest Yemen, is under government control but has been under siege by Houthi militia for the past six years.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been killed in more than five years of fighting.

Yemen’s health care system has so far recorded no case of the COVID-19 illness, but aid groups have warned that when it does hit, the impact will be catastrophic. The country is already gripped by what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

(With AFP)