Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe husband criticises 'pretty dark' Govt as hunger strike continues

8 November 2021, 15:15

Richard Ratcliffe talks to James O'Brien on 16th day of hunger strike

By Emma Soteriou

Richard Ratcliffe - the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - has told LBC that the Government's lack of action over her being held hostage was a "pretty dark" place to be morally.

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It comes as Mr Ratcliffe entered day 16 of his hunger strike outside the Foreign Office in London, in an ongoing effort to get his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, home from Iran.

She has been held in custody in the country since 2016, after being accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian Government.

However, the charges are considered to instead be part of a political dispute, due to the UK owing a £400 million debt to Iran over a failing to deliver tanks ordered by the Shah of Iran before he was overthrown in 1979.

Speaking to LBC's James O'Brien, Mr Ratcliffe said: "I came out of the meeting with Liz Truss without much confidence that things were going to move.

"We'll see if this does make any difference – I think there's a lot of MPs making noise on social media, recognising the situation, that actually allowing your citizens to be held hostage over your unpaid debt is a pretty dark moral place to be."

Read more: Husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe goes on second hunger strike

Read more: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could be sent back to prison 'at any time' after losing appeal

"Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being used as a bargaining tool"

It is the second time Nazanin's husband has gone on hunger strike since 2018, as he continues to fight for his wife's return.

He said the weekend was a turning point for his condition.

"It's important to listen to your body at this point," Mr Ratcliffe explained. "It felt like over the weekend it turned slightly and got a bit harder."

However, his sister and her husband - who are both doctors - have been regularly checking on him in recent days, he said.

"The bit I notice most is the cold," he said. "My feet and my hands get very cold and probably also the tiredness.

"If I'm mingling around I have to keep sitting down and not doing very much. Hunger is not really a problem – I get a bit thirsty.

"Mentally, I find I'm getting slightly more rambling as the days go on."

With the Iranian Vice President currently in the UK for COP26, Mr Ratcliffe said he hoped "something can happen in the margins there".

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