British citizens imprisoned in Iran?
Why the British government doesn’t take an action to free the British citizens imprisoned in Iran?
According to the news published on 16 August 2016, an Iranian-British national has been recently arrested by the authorities in Iran allegedly “spying for British intelligence.” The identity of this person is not been released by the authorities in Iran.
This is not the first time an Iranian-British citizen is being imprisoned by the Iranian authorities. There are several duel citizens in prison and this includes the followings:
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: a 37-year-old British-Iranian citizen and a charity worker who was arrested on 3rd April 2016 at the airport in Iran while on a family holiday. Her two years old daughter Gabriella has been banned from leaving Iran and therefore she cannot be with her father Richard. Gabriella’s passport was confiscated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard when her mother was arrested and she has been deprived of seeing and being with her parents.
Roya Saberinejad: a 49-years-old British-Iranian citizen who has been in prison in Iran since October 2013 when she was arrested while visiting her family. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison which was then redeced to 7 year. Her “crime” is writting anti-regime comment on her Facebook while in the UK.
Kamal Foroughi: a76-years-old British-Iranian who was arrested in May 2011. He has not seen any of his family for over 4 years. Kamal was taken without warning, for questioning at Evin Prison. His family is very worried about his health and are concerned he may die in prison.
Unfortunately British government have not taken any effective actions to free these British citizens. The UK government has been given empty promises to their families without taking any serious steps to pressurise the authorities in Iran to release them.
It has been almost 3 years that Roya’s family in the UK has desperately asked the British government to take an action but each time they are told that “we have contacted the regime in Iran”. The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) has not provided her family with any explanation or documents to show they have contacted the Iranian regime to discuss Roya’s case.
British government has kept repeating the same excuse that their hands are tight because the Islamic regime in Iran does not recognise dual nationality. Any sensible person could understand that British government should act responsibly toward its citizens instead of leaving them rot in a prison in Iran?
It is not expected that Rouhani and his regime to care about the lives of the above British citizens. This is the same regime that has been arresting, torturing and executing thousands of men and women and youngsters who dared to practice their freedom of expression in the last 37 years in Iran. The expectation is on the British government to use their political power to pressurise the authorities in Iran and demand their immediate and unconditional release.
According to Nazanin’s family, On 21 June 2016 Nazanin’s interrogator told her family “If they [UK government] make the agreement then we will not send the case [Nazanin] to court”. Roya Saberinejad was initially arrested with 7 other Facebook users in Iran. All the 7 prisoners were released more than two months ago but Roya is still kept in prison. It is clear that these duel nationals are held in prison as hostages and bargaining chip so the authorities in Iran can use them in their negotiations with the British government. The question is what the British government has done to save their lives?
I would like to ask you to support these British citizens by writing to the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and urge her to take an action to bring Roya Saberinejad, Kamal Foroughi, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her daughter back to the UK.
Shiva Mahbobi, Spokesperson
Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI)
+44(0) 7572356661 , firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also write to your MPs and ask them to urge the government to take an action. You can find the contact detail for your MP via the link below:
For more information on the jailed Iranian-British citizens in Iran please visit the following links. Please sign their petition to support them: