MP Holds Vigil Outside Iranian Embassy In Support Of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

MP Barry Sheerman says he knows it’s a “silly gesture” but it is “meaningful” to him

An MP is holding a personal vigil outside the Iranian embassy to show his support for the jailed British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Labour Cooperative MP for Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman says more MPs should show their support to the campaign to free her by attending the central London embassy.

The 40-year-old charity worker was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport while travelling with her young daughter in April 2016 and sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying, a charge she strongl denies.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe recently ended a 15-day hunger strike, which was done to protest against her “unfair imprisonment”, with her husband Richard also on a hunger strike and camped on the pavement outside the Iranian Embassy.

MP Barry Sheerman
MP Barry Sheerman
HuffPost UK

Sheerman says he decided to visit the embassy on Sunday, the day after Mr Ratcliffe dismantled his makeshift camp after ending the protest, because he wanted to show solidarity to the cause.

The MP says he tried to speak to someone at the embassy but was told it was closed.

He said he had to push his card under the door because there was no letter box.

He said: “I was very disturbed, it was the end of the hunger strike and thank god for that, no wants the health impairment of either of them.

“It was on my mind and I thought ‘am I going to go to church or am I going to do something?’ and I thought I am going to go to the embassy and try to speak to someone and do a personal vigil outside.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard Ratcliffe
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard Ratcliffe
PA Wire/PA Images
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her family
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her family
HuffPost UK

Sheerman says he knew standing outside the embassy alone was a “silly gesture”, but said it was a personal issue for him.

“It’s a silly gesture, I know it’s silly, but it’s meaningful to me.

“This is very personal for me, I have a big family and I know how much it would hurt me if I missed big chunks of them growing up.”

“I am so frustrated. You raise this in the House of Commons, perhaps it does some good, but physically coming down here I thought I could encourage all MPs to come.

“I think politics sometimes just has to be very personal.

“It’s just getting something moving here because all the talking in Parliament hasn’t changed anyone’s mind.

“Let’s get a few MPs here every day, everyone should come down.

“Not to rabble-rouse and chant and shout but quietly, to say there’s something really wrong here.”


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