Richard Ratcliffe: Jeremy Hunt has done 'everything he’s asked him to'

Richard Ratcliffe: Jeremy Hunt has done 'everything he’s asked him to'

Monday, August 27, 2018

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said Jeremy Hunt has done “everything he’s asked him to” when it comes to freeing his wife.

The British-Iranian mother was released from Evin prison in Tehran on Thursday for three days, and has been spending time with her family outside the capital.

However, the request for an extension was not granted and she was told to return to prison by sunset, which she did willingly.

Richard Ratcliffe, has described his weekend of being made up of “two-parts” after the prison officers told his wife there had been a “change of plan”.

Talking to Mike Graham on talkRADIO Ratcliffe said: “It’s been weekend of two-parts really. We had a really happy Thursday and Friday, with her more sudden and unexepected release.

“It was a lovely couple of days being with her and all the family were out together, that was lovely and it was a three day release.

“Normally though, if you get three days that usually gets extended, all those who went out at the same time as her had their visits extended.

“She went along yesterday to get it extended and was told that it was fine, and she was just waiting on one signature, and that she wouldn’t need to go back to prison today.”

“On the way back she then got a call from her interrogators - who had been tracking the family every day – and they said ‘look, you haven’t broken the rules so we’re going to approve it’.

“Then, when we got home and then got a call and actually ‘no’ change of plan you’re going back to prison.”


'Keep on the battle'

Nazanin and daughter Gabriella

Mr Ratcliffe has been left ‘frustrated’ by her return to prison and has insisted the “battle” will still go on to get he released.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” he added.

“I was surprised she was out, but I was astonished she was dragged back in, because it’s almost unprecedented.

“I think the next immediate step is to check how’s she doing, how the family is doing, how Gabrielle is doing and check it it’s okay.

“Then we need work out what we think, work out what the government thinks and talk about it again, I’m not sure what is next but I know we’re going to have to keep on the battle.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, from Hampstead, north London, was sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying by Tehran's Islamist regime.

She denies the allegation and said she was on holiday in Iran to allow her daughter to spend time with relatives there.

Mike Graham asked the husband whether he thinks he will be notified about the eventual release of his wife.

“In our ur experience so far, and from watching others, it will be arbituary and sudden, so it will be unexpected,” he explained.

“What feels like that is happening is there are two parts of their own system battling with each other and are using us to have that battle, and there is a part of their system who is having a battle with the UK and using us that in that battle.”


Jeremy Hunt praised

Jeremy Hunt, who took over from Boris Johnson as Home Secretary, has made this case one of his “priorities”.

Mr Ratcliffe, who had been critical of the government, has praised Mr Hunt for being “very strong” on the case.

 “I’ve been very critical of our government in the past, but Jeremy Hunt has been very strong on this case actually.

“He’s been clear it’s a priority and that it’s outrageous, and has pushed for her to be released.

“He’s done all the things I’ve asked him to do -  I think I felt for a long time that the government didn’t really give her case the severity and the injustice of it and he’s done that.”