Pressure on government mounts as Richard Ratcliffe continues Free Nazanin hunger strike

Pressure on government mounts as Richard Ratcliffe continues Free Nazanin hunger strike

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said he is looking and feeling “rougher” 16 days into his hunger strike as he enters “uncharted territory”.

Protesting outside the Foreign Office in London, he told Good Morning Britain that the hunger strike is a “short-term tactic.”

“I’m definitely looking rougher and feeling rougher.

“I don’t feel hungry but I do feel the cold more.

“It’s a short-term tactic. You can’t take it too long or you end up in a coma.”

Ratcliffe also told the BBC: ““I have physically seen the effects, and have got very cold hands and feet. Over the weekend, I saw a bit of a plateau and then on Friday evening, crashed and burned.

“We are now into uncharted territory,” he explained.

Sixteen days in, and the father and husband is feeling the full effects on his mind and body, and has said that he will have to listen to what it is doing when choosing exactly when to end his hunger strike.

“At this point I will have to start listening to my body,” he said.

“Over the weekend I spent most of the day sitting down. The batteries were really flat.

“One of the things with a hunger strike is you get more stubborn the longer things go on, so you become less able to flexibly let go.”

In 2016, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was imprisoned for five years in Iran, accused of plotting to overthrow the government when she travelled to the country to visit her family with her daughter Gabriella.

After spending four years in prison and one year under house arrest, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was then sentenced to another year after her release earlier this year for “spreading propaganda against the regime.”

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Since then she has remained on parole at her parent’s home in Tehran, but the fear is that Nazanin could be sent back to prison as a result of this latest sentencing.

Ratcliffe has urged the government to be “a lot tougher with Iran” and told Sky News: “They [government] clearly were working quite hard in the summer to broker a deal and that deal clearly fell apart. Nazanin’s new sentence, which came three weeks ago, is a sign of that.

“The Iranians are threatening it, but they will throw her back in prison quite soon.

“So the first ask was that they [UK] do something to stop that and that there are consequences for Iran for playing these games, which the government wasn’t keen to do,” he added.

Meanwhile, supporters of Nazanin and her husband’s hunger strike have taken to Twitter to pressurize the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to take action in helping to get Nazanin home.

Strictly Come Dancing co-host Claudia Winkleman and presenter Victoria Coren-Mitchell paid a visit to Ratcliffe to where he is protesting outside the Foreign Office in support of his campaigning.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “Iran’s decision to proceed with these baseless charges against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is an appalling continuation of the cruel ordeal she is going through.

“Instead of threatening to return Nazanin to prison Iran must release her permanently so she can return home.

“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.”

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