Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's daughter returns to UK after three years

11 October 2019, 15:09

The daughter of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has returned to the UK
The daughter of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has returned to the UK. Picture: Global's Newsroom

The five-year old daughter of imprisoned British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has returned to the UK from Iran to start school.

Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe had had spent three and a half years living in Iran with her grandparents, visiting her British-Iranian mother in the Evin Prison in Tehran when the Iranian authorities would allow.

She returned home today, beaming as she hugged her father Richard Ratcliffe, who she barely remembers. Mr Ratcliffe has been campaigning for his wife to be released from prison.

The parents have decided Gabriella should return home to the UK so she can start school.

Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from West Hampstead, London has been serving a five-year prison sentence since 2016 after she was accused of spying - a charge she strongly denies.

She is imprisoned at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison that has been accused of committing "serious human rights abuses".

Gabriella has visited her mother at least once a week since her arrest in April 2016.

Her father Richard said it had been a "long journey" to having her home.

Mr Ratcliffe said: "Gabriella came back to us late at night, a bit uncertain seeing those she only remembered from the phone.

"Now she is peacefully sleeping next to me. And I am just watching.

"It has been a long journey to have her home, with bumps right until the end - and I am grateful to all those at the British Embassy and Iranian MFA who helped smooth all those last blockages.

"Of course the job is not yet done until Nazanin is home," he added.

"It was a hard goodbye for Nazanin and all her family. But let us hope this homecoming unlocks another."

At a press conference on Friday, Richard Ratcliffe told reporters: “It’s a happy day, but it’s very tough for Nazanin. She did not want her daughter to return to the UK while she remains in Iran. But Gabriella has been very brave, and told mummy that she’ll see her back in London.

Speaking about the prime minister, Mr Radcliffe said: “We have been caught in the middle of a government fight, which is not ours to solve. We looked to Boris to be a hero when he was Foreign Secretary, and we will be looking to him again now."We have requested a meeting, and will issue that request again.”

After 1,300 days in Iran, away from her father and being brought up in an Iranian household, Gabriella's ability to speak English is severely diminished and she will have to relearn how to communicate with her father.

She is now separated from her mother, leaving behind the life she has known since she was a toddler.

In an open letter, published in October, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe wrote about how weekly visits from her daughter had sustained her during her imprisonment.

Revealing that Gabriella would be returning to the UK to start school, she wrote that the thought of being unable to hold her child was "the deepest torture of them all".

"Those brief minutes might be the shortest of cuddles, but without doubt the most beautiful and uplifting cuddles in the whole world," she wrote.

In her letter, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe said she was a "pawn in the hands of politicians - abroad and in Iran - to reach their goals in their games of chess".

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the letter as "heart-breaking" and said Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's detainment was "unjustifiable and unacceptable".

The family's MP Tulip Siddiq said: "Richard and Nazanin have made a decision that no family should have to make."It is heart-warming to see Gabriella reunited with her father after 1,300 days in Iran, but heart-breaking that she is separated from her mother Nazanin.

"Iran must end their hostage diplomacy and release my innocent constituent. Britain should also solve its long running debt issue with Iran."

Nazanin is at breaking point, and today is yet another reminder that she has been failed at the very highest levels of government," added the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn in London.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A crime scene has been set up in Shepherd's Bush, west London

Suspect still at large as second crime scene set up in London as investigation into bodies found in suitcases in Bristol continues

More than 1,800 jobs and 272 stores are at risk as major retailer Carpetright is headed towards administration

Carpetright heads towards administration in move that would put all of its 272 stores and nearly 2,000 jobs at risk

Five men died on the OceanGate Titan vessel.

Plaque to be laid next to Titanic in honour of Titan submersible victim

The incident at Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol yesterday

Human remains found in suitcases dumped near Bristol bridge 'belong to two men'

Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood, with Governor Sarah Bott, during a visit to HMP Bedford in Harpur, Bedfordshire

Thousands of prisoners are to be released after serving just 40 per cent of sentences as jails face 'collapse'

Supermarkets have altered their opening hours for the Euro 2024 final

Get the supplies in: Every supermarket closing early this Sunday as England take on Spain in Euro 2024 final

The Princess Royal has returned to public duties for the first time since her head injury

Princess Anne returns to public duties for first time since horse-related accident

Michael White has been removed from the World Snooker Tour

Professional snooker player jailed for assaulting girlfriend and removed from world tour

England's bus parade would travel to Buckingham Palace to be honoured by King Charles and the Prince of Wales

England to have open-top bus parade through London if Southgate's side beat Spain in Euro 2024 final

Police have launched an investigation after the death of a baby at an address in Taviton street, Camden

Body of newborn baby found in bin as murder investigation launched

It is unknown how the whales became stranded.

Pod of 77 whales dies after becoming stranded on Scottish beach

Gavin Plumb was given three life sentences for plotting to abduct and murder Holly Willoughby

'Depraved loner' Gavin Plumb given three life sentences for plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby

Forensics investigators at the scene in Bushey

Man, 26, arrested on suspicion of triple crossbow murder after three women found dead at Hertfordshire home

Brits face a weekend washout as thunderstorms hit the southwest.

Brits face horror start to weekend as Met Office issues eight-hour thunderstorm warning

Security guard Gavin Plumb has been found guilty of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder television presenter Holly Willoughby.

'Depraved and vile' plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby has had 'life-changing' impact on star

The former president has expressed his concern over Biden's ability to beat Donald Trump.

Obama 'concerned' as pressure mounts on Joe Biden to pull out of presidential race in wake of Putin gaffe