The husband of jailed British-Iranian dual citizen Nazani Zaghari-Ratcliffe has gone on a hunger strike for a second time in two years to demand the United Kingdom government to do more to secure her release.
Richard Ratcliffe began his second hunger strike on Oct. 24 outside the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London after his wife lost her latest appeal against a second prison sentence in Iran last week.
Nazani has been detained in Tehran since 2016 when she was accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.
“I never expected to have to do a hunger strike twice. It is not a normal act. It seems extraordinary the need to adopt the same tactics to persuade government here, to cut through the accountability gap,” Ratcliffe said in a statement.
Richard first went on a 15-day hunger strike in 2019 outside the Iranian embassy in London, which eventually resulted in his daughter being returned to the UK.
In his petition, Richard is demanding UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to recognize Nazanin as a hostage and to punish the perpetrators either by imposing individual Magnitsky sanctions or by taking Iran to court.
Richard is also demanding the government to settle a historical debt with Iran.
Tulip Siddiq, Labor member of parliament who represents the constituency where Richard lives, urged the government to “listen to the demands of Nazanin’s family and finally bring her home.”
An FCDO spokesperson called the charges against Nazanin “baseless.”
“Instead of threatening to return Nazanin to prison, Iran must release her permanently so she can return home,” the spokesperson said.
“We are doing all we can to help Nazanin get home to her young daughter and family and we will continue to press Iran on this point,” the spokesperson added.
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