Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe honoured with bravery award

At the awards ceremony, her daughter, Gabriella, read out her mother’s words from Iran

Richard Ratcliffe holds a picture of his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during his hunger strike outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in London. AP Photo
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Imprisoned mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been honoured with a bravery award from a human rights organisation recognising her “intolerable suffering in Iran".

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella, 7, collected the “courage under fire” award on her behalf at an event in London on Thursday.

The British-Iranian dual national, arrested in Iran in 2016 as she took Gabriella to see relatives, was recognised by the Magnitsky Human Rights Awards.

Nazanin was very pleased to hear of this award, for herself but also for all the others detained in Iran that you don't get to hear about," said Mr Ratcliffe, who has just ended a 21-day hunger strike to draw attention to his wife's case.

“The Iranian regime gets away with terrible crimes that thrive in darkness where accountability should be.”

At the awards ceremony, Gabriella read out her mother’s words.

“Thank you for this award. It means a lot to me and to my cellmates still in Evin Prison, that we are not forgotten.

“It makes my heart melt to see my daughter, now big enough to receive this award and to read these words.

“One day may we live in a world where we do not need to fight for our freedom. But thank you to all of you for walking next to us while we still need to do this fight, and for still reminding us that freedom is one day closer.”

The awards are named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered large-scale tax fraud in his country and died in prison after giving evidence against corrupt officials.

Magnitsky sanctions are imposed on those responsible for human rights breaches or corruption.

“We are strengthened by the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign's recognition of that danger and the role of Magnitsky sanctions in challenging Iran's state hostage-taking," Mr Ratcliffe said.

"All our family are very proud of this award."

He described the award as a “lovely surprise” for his wife, “knowing that other people care and can see your injustice, knowing that you are not alone”.

Mr Ratcliffe said his wife was “also very proud" that Gabriella was there to receive the award and read out her words of gratitude.

Rupert Skilbeck, director of human rights organisation Redress, which has been part of the campaign to have Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe returned to the UK, said she has “endured intolerable suffering in Iran".

“This award is a timely reminder of the resilience and courage shown by many survivors of torture in the face of the most brutal human rights abuses,” Mr Skilbeck said.

“In recognising this, we must not forget that survivors deserve, and must receive, justice and reparation.

“The UK government can and must impose Magnitsky sanctions on those responsible for Nazanin's suffering.”

The British-Iranian charity worker was found guilty in 2016 of plotting against the Iranian regime, something she, her supporters and the UK government deny.

She is under house arrest after being released from prison, but is awaiting the start of a second jail term.

Updated: March 17, 2022, 10:44 AM