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Nazanin Denied Right to Vote in UK Election

June 1, 2017
Natasha Schmidt
2 min read
Nazanin Denied Right to Vote in UK Election
Nazanin Denied Right to Vote in UK Election

Authorities in Iran have confirmed that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker held in Evin Prison, will not be allowed to vote in the forthcoming UK general election. 

The Free Nazanin campaign has criticized the British government for not doing more to protect her rights and secure her freedom. “This is the latest violation of Nazanin’s fundamental rights,” a campaign press release said. “We are calling on the government to speak out against this treatment. At some point the government must judge her treatment to be unacceptable for a British citizen to endure, and afford her diplomatic protection.”

Nazanin's husband Richard Ratcliffe and campaigners confirmed on May 31 that Iranian authorities prevented Zaghari-Ratcliffe from filling out the necessary forms to register to vote from prison, either via postal or proxy vote. “The UK Embassy failed to effectively raise this request with the Iranians,” they said. 

On June 1 at 5.45pm British time, Richard Ratcliffe will participate in a Prisoners Abroad Facebook live event, which has been organized by with Redress and family members of other UK citizens detained abroad. 

The British Embassy had told Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family that they would appeal to the Iranian authorities to allow her a vote in the election, which takes place on June 8. But they failed to speak to anyone or uphold her voting rights before the deadline for registration. 

Richard Ratcliffe has appealed to all UK party leaders to take action. He condemned their silence on her case, and said it amounted to a message that they thought the continued incarceration of a UK citizen was acceptable. 

Since the arrest, relations between Iran and the UK have improved, allowing for an increase in discussions about diplomatic and business matters. Despite this, no one from the UK embassy has been allowed to visit Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and she has been subjected to three court sentences and seven months of solitary confinement. She has been on hunger strike and recently expressed that she has had suicidal feelings.

Revolutionary Guards agents arrested Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at the airport as she was returning to the UK with her daughter Gabriella on April 3, 2016. Gabriella will mark her third birthday in June, the second birthday without her mother. “I am broken for not having her with me,” Zaghari-Ratcliffe wrote to supporters. “I cannot take it anymore. I want to be home with her for her third birthday. When I think like this and I realize I can’t do anything about it, I sob every night, every day.”

Gabriella is currently being looked after by Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s parents in Tehran. Her father, Richard Ratcliffe, has not seen her since Nazanin was arrested, as he is coordinating the campaign to free her and appealing to UK authorities for assistance from the family’s home in London. 



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