Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British woman imprisoned in Tehran on espionage charges, started a hunger strike in protest against being denied access to medical care as well as pressure from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard interrogators to spy on UK for the Iranian regime.
On Monday, January 14, 2019, the British-Iranian dual national began a planned hunger strike protesting prison conditions and lack of access to medical treatment as well as pressure from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard interrogators to spy on UK for the Iranian regime.
Speaking at a press conference in London that day, Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, revealed that his wife had been pressured to spy for Iran.
“There is a second reason that prompted Nazanin to go on hunger strike. Just after Christmas on December 29, Nazanin was visited in prison by two Revolutionary Guard interrogators. She was pressured to agree to two things. First they were keen to get her to agree to a new short furlough in January. She was resistant to agree to something short-term because last time it was so clearly a power-game which had such disruptive consequences on her and Gabriella, and she was very wary of being brought out so she could suddenly be brought back into prison, particularly in January. January has the next arbitration hearing in the London courts in the UK-Iran debt case which is happening later on. She’s been a clear bargaining chip in both of the previous two debt cases in May 2016 and August 22 and is not about to become one again. But what really pushed her over the edge was the second demand which was that they tried to pressure her to become a spy for Iran against the UK. Specifically, to spy on Department for International Development (DFID) and an organization called Small Media, which the Revolutionary Guard keep trying to link her to, but which she has no connection to.”
The trusted doctor of the Prison Organization ordered Nazanin Zaghari to be treated urgently in a medical center, but prison officials prevented her from doing so for unknown reasons.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe , a dual UK-Iranian national, has been denied appropriate health care by the Iranian authorities for lumps in her breasts, severe neck pain, and numbness in her arms and legs, her husband has said. She has also been denied appropriate mental health care from outside Evin Prison.
On December 30, 2018, Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi warned that they would hunger strike if the authorities continued to deny their access to medical treatment.
Mohammadi and Ratcliffe, both held in the Women’s Ward, have long complained of illnesses for which they have been denied medical care.
The authorities responded by cancelling Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s weekly calls with her husband, reducing her food rations, cancelling Mohammadi’s calls with her children and further restricting call privileges for everyone in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison.
UN human rights experts on January 17, called on Iran to urgently provide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi access to appropriate health care, and reiterated calls for their immediate release.
“We urge the Government to immediately and unconditionally provide Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Narges Mohammadi with access to the appropriate treatment and care they have repeatedly requested in light of their serious health concerns,” the experts said.