The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has presented evidence to the United Nations that the cruel treatment his wife has suffered in an Iranian jail amounts to torture.
Richard Ratcliffe said: “We have passed the threshold where Nazanin’s treatment is torture. Ongoing games remain a kind of psychological torture with continual ups and downs and pressures impacting on Nazanin.”
Key claims in the submission sent on Tuesday are that the level of psychological abuse in Nazanin’s case meets UN torture criteria particularly given her vulnerability as a mother.
A second claim states her abuse is not just down to pressures inflicted by her interrogators, or the poor conditions of her detention, but that her abuse has been coordinated with the use of the court system, Iranian TV news and consular services to assert control over her daughter Gabriella and Nazanin’s access to her family. A third claim is that Nazanin is being held as a bargaining chip in ongoing political battles that have nothing to do with the family with court proceedings, propaganda and promises of release being used to exert diplomatic pressure.
Mr Ratcliffe has also asked the UN special rapporteur on torture to pursue Nazanin’s case with the British and Iranian governments calling on them to respect their obligations to protect his wife and “find a way to bring her home”.
On the submission’s timing Richard said it has long been evident Nazanin’s treatment met the threshold for consideration as torture but the invention of a second court case and “extreme” propaganda marking her out as an important person for the UK had made the move more important now.
The toll on her health as well as dashed hopes of release and broken promises her case had been dropped are also having a significant impact on Nazanin according to Mr Ratcliffe.
Nazanin’s huhsband reported Nazanin continues to experience “darkly negative feelings” and bouts of anger. She struggles to be in company, struggles for an appetite and struggles to put on any weight, he said.
Nazanin and Gabriella were seized in Tehran in April 2016 as they tried to return home from a family holiday. Nazanin was sentenced to five years in jail on charges of plotting against the state, which she denies. Gabriella remains with family in Iran.